Making her Fringe debut, Kelly Convey takes the audience on a journey from being a mouthy teenager on a Chatham council estate through to working for Global Acquisitions for Fox and working as a wine taster before her current stand-up career. The opening of the show is funny enough, with Convey using her observations about her working-class background that are more self-deprecating variations of the ‘LOL chav’ humour that populated many a stand-up act in the 2000s (gags about Benidorm and drug dealing relatives). However, as the show progresses, Convey subverts these assumptions with her material on her more middle-class half-siblings and her high-flying media and wine tasting jobs.
Both of these occupations have airs and graces that are punctured by Convey’s simple but incisive takes. The media job has her fooling a self-absorbed LA executive that skewers the media industry’s predilection for buzzwords and the wine tasting job has her showing up the ridiculous rules governing the wine-tasting industry.
However, Convey isn’t putting on a right-on ‘I am working-class woman, hear me roar show’, which can be seen in her refreshingly subversive joke about meeting Harvey Weinstein that doesn’t take the typical post-#MeToo route of sacrificing humour for seriousness when discussing sexual harassment. In addition, Convey also devotes as much time to document her search for a boyfriend on dating apps and shows, which leads to a scathing takedown of the ITV classic Take Me Out.
As she concludes her show by mentioning her venturing into stand-up three years ago, Convey mentions her realisation that she is now in a line of work where, for once, she can use her own voice without hiding behind a higher-class ‘telephone voice’ for the first time, bringing the central message about class back home to the audience.
All in all, Telephone Voice is a bubbly and engaging Fringe debut that avoids preachiness in its central message of self-discovery, with Convey coming across as having a confident and witty stage presence.