Where/when: Stand 4, 14.25
Described as an intimate studio, Stand 4 is more akin to the side room underneath a hotel that it is the rest of the year. Hot, sweaty and uncomfortable, it hardly seems like the place to find one of the most exciting rising stars of the British comedy circuit but yet this is the venue for Eleanor Morton’s Happy Birthday Katie Lewis.
A show that doubles as the party of the titular character’s birthday, it is a funny yet bittersweet story of lost friendship that cleverly subverts traditional stand-up. Morton is clearly an incredibly talented performer, particularly noticeable during the occasional musical interludes in the show. Utilising a ukulele, a small keyboard and an impressive singing voice, the songs are catchy enough to be stuck in your head long after lights up and hilarious, providing a number of quality punchlines throughout. It may be easy to compare Morton to David O’Doherty, the tiny plastic keyboards and low energy charm are there, but she may be more akin to Flight of the Conchords, with her ability to take somewhat surreal premises and mine them for multiple laughs.
The stand-up sections too are very enjoyable, showcasing Morton’s ability to take cliche premises such as being a bridesmaid are mined for unexpected gold, but there are some lulls. A throughline of pass the parcel forcing the audience to read cue cards is clever, but lacks a real punch. However, this may be as much to do with the conditions of the room, the temperature leaving an audience lethargic and unable to provide it with the energy it might need. Nevertheless, Morton is charming enough to win the room back, and the final section; involving a wonderful dance routine, is cleverly done and ties the show together nicely.
In all, this is a very enjoyable show brought down only by the room it is housed in. This is a show that deserves bigger and better rooms, and hopefully will be able to convince the Stand to give her such next year.
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