wed 19/06/2024

Rachel Parris, Leicester Square Theatre review - smart observations and satirical songs | reviews, news & interviews

Rachel Parris, Leicester Square Theatre review - smart observations and satirical songs

Rachel Parris, Leicester Square Theatre review - smart observations and satirical songs

Late Night Mash host on tour

Rachel Parris says she has become a person she never thought she would beKarla Gowlett

Five years ago, Rachel Parris tells us, she never thought she would one day be married, a mother and a home owner. Now she's all three – and a stepmother as well – and this year is about to turn 40. It's quite a journey, which she talks about in her new show, Poise.

But it's not all personal as there's a fair amount of political humour here too. After all, she did get her big break on the BBC's satire show The Mash Report, which transmogrified into Late Night Mash on Dave and was cancelled by both channels. She says it was because of the shows' left-leaning slant, so she's keen to balance things in Poise, although Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, both given a bit of a beating here, might disagree. As she says at the top of the show, most of the audience are here to see her slag off the Tories, and she's not going to disappoint them.

Truss's brief stay at No 10 is the subject of one of Parris's songs, played to the tune of the Elton John / Bernie Taupin number, where she suggests the hapless politician is the kind of person “who would light a candle in the wind”. It's an inspired take, and a highlight of the show.

Songs pepper the set, and are among its stronger elements. One about traffic chaos at Dover is delightfully clever, both musically and lyrically, taking in phrases from musicals and nursery rhymes – the wheels on this bus don't go round – as everything but Brexit is blamed for the standstill by a nation in denial. Another is a feminist riff on James Bond themes.

There's some standard fare in the stand-up – about married life, of the supposed wisdom that comes with getting older – along with more potent sections on being a competitive parent anxious to impress in a child assessment session for her toddler, or her memories of being a music teacher (“not the nice kind”). Parris's humour, often aimed at herself, is pleasingly acerbic  and there is some sharp-eyed observational material in the two-hour show.

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