This is Maddie Campion’s first solo show at the Fringe and she is still experimenting with comic personas and structure. Introducing elements of puppetry (with ‘LD’ or love doll) she skews the traditional stand-up structure.
In part, it is understandable that a debut performance should be approached in a pragmatic and reasoned fashion but much of this material is pitched at child level. The presence of the sex doll is all the separates the bulk of this set from a children’s Fringe act, but it should be taken into account that the venue’s lack of appropriate lighting renders any suspension of disbelief regarding LD near impossible. The kuroko is plainly visible to such an extent that they could have been incorporated into the flimsy scenarios and may have possibly added a different and fresher dimension.
The show is equal parts surreal sketch show, self-help session, stand-up and slideshow detailing the rise and fall of the duo through reportage. Unhelpfully, the hypnotic voice that LD possesses doesn’t allow for the double act to bounce off each other in the expected manner which neuters the comedic dynamic. The various “uses” of the title involve LD being the comic to Campion’s straight persona but the use of timed video requires diligent rehearsal and preparation to make the material work and the technical aspect is not of the required standard.
Tellingly, when Campion reverts to traditional stand-up, she is on much safer ground and it is obvious that the autobiographical elements of her set could be expanded. There is some good material about substituting French cinema for porn in HMV. The themes a love doll and the sex industry generate could have made for some interesting stand-up, but the reliance on some very unsophisticated gags and unearned silliness undermine any goodwill.