REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

Katherine Ryan
Katherine Ryan
Tom Chambers as  Bobby and company in Crazy For You. Picture by Richard Davenport

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They say you can tell a lot about a person by their clothes.

So when Katherine Ryan came out wearing a t-shirt with her face on it, tucked into a ruffled spectacle which were swiftly dubbed ‘vagina trousers’, this expression came to mind.

In both her fashion and her comedy, the acid-tongued comic is not afraid to make a statement, even if it gets her in hot water.

She became a household name after a joke about cosmetic testing made her public enemy number one in the Philippines, and has since built a career on being offensive and political.

In her crosshairs last night was her arch-nemesis Jane: a middle-class school mum who disapproves of Ryan bringing up her daughter Violet without a man by her side.

The panel show regular made it clear how she felt about this in a scathing attack on Jane’s do-gooder lifestyle and her ‘ham-coloured husband’ Brian which got me laughing.

Her set, much like her outfit, was bold, bitchy and a lot of fun

For me, Ryan is at her funniest when she is tearing into people, and thankfully there was plenty of that to go around. The entire male species got a pretty good roasting with a persuasive comparison to dolphins – near human intelligence and only to be enjoyed on holiday – as well as the musical Hamilton, which Ryan renacted during an energetic retelling of how she got kicked out of the theatre for heckling the lead actor.

The scene in question which provoked her ire showed a man taking advantage of a vulnerable woman, which touched upon the current sexual harrassment scandal: a topic which was ripe for the picking with her feminist perspective.

Also like her outfit, Ryan is not afraid to make fun of herself. The Glitter Room tour is named after the room which Violet designed in Ryan’s newly-bought flat, and much of the set is devoted to her struggles and faux-pas as a mother.

She described their relationship as a ‘foreign nanny who has given birth to her mean British boss’, but that is about as vitriolic as it got. The claws were put away, and as a result, the show began to drag; there’s only so many times you can hear an anecdote about being bossed around by an eight-year-old.

Thankfully, she swapped topics and ended on a high. Her set, much like her outfit, was bold, bitchy and a lot of fun.