Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

As soon as we meet Spring Day (that’s her real name, by the way), it’s clear that she is a confident and experienced performer. She engages with the audience in an amiable, relaxed manner, establishing a decidedly positive atmosphere in the room. This is especially impressive given the modest audience size, and the fact we are kind of awkwardly squeezed together in the back row of the Las Vegas room of The City Cafe. Day has instructed us to sit here, because these are the comfy seats. She pours us glasses of water, explaining that the room gets very hot. It’s always lovely to have an attentive host.

Day starts with a trigger warning. She explains that her comedy is quite dark, and that, towards the end of the show, she will be talking about domestic violence. This is another considerate touch that is appreciated by the audience, and communicates to us that Spring Day is a right-on and thoughtful comedian.

Strong Co-Dependent Woman is ostensibly about life as a woman with cripplingly low self esteem – a zeitgeisty premise if ever there was one. The topics discussed are all at least loosely related to this idea, although there is no real narrative arc to the set. Day talks about a diverse range of topics, including Trump, relationships, family disputes, Louis C.K. and Japanese gynaecology. In the first half of the show, the gag rate is consistent and there is some clever, highly entertaining material. A particularly successful section is when she discusses her embarrassment about being an American in the UK, then explains her nationality is “not [her] only disability”, thus segueing into a discussion of her own cerebral palsy. This routine goes down very well with the audience, who are happily chuckling into their glasses of water.

The second half is not quite as well-played and the wheels threaten to come off towards the very end of the show. The “dark” content she warned us about is certainly present, but it doesn’t land especially well. There’s a slight unease in the room when Day uses some provocative language during a section on race. She’s distanced herself from the story she’s telling sufficiently, so we appreciate that there’s clearly no racism on her part, but the material isn’t strong enough to entirely convince us that we can laugh at it. Equally, we’re a little apprehensive about her spin on domestic abuse. She’s drawing on her own experiences, so we know her sympathies are in the right place, but the jokes don’t work as well as they could. Perhaps, if there was a conclusion she had been driving towards throughout the show, this content could be worked in with more purpose and success.

One thing that marks Day out as a consummate professional is her ability to deal with any reticence or apprehension in the room. If the audience feels a bit awkward, she never reflects this awkwardness back to us, or indulgences in the frustrated, petulant audience-blaming that some other comics might do, but instead she works to diffuse it. Her fundamental likeability allows her to do this relatively easily, and will no doubt continue to serve her well in this respect if she chooses to experiment further with potentially touchy material. Strong Codependent Woman is an uneven show, delivered by a very endearing, hugely proficient performer.