mon 22/07/2024

Luisa Omielan, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Luisa Omielan, Soho Theatre

Luisa Omielan, Soho Theatre

Joyous and raucous hymn to modern womanhood

Luisa Omielan talks about her seemingly chaotic lifeRachel King

Awards are strange things; they can recognise real achievement while at the same time overlook the really talented. Annoyingly, Luisa Omielan fell into the second category with her first two full shows - What Would Beyoncé Do? and its equally joyous follow-up, Am I Right Ladies?! - both of which should have been recognised in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards (in 2012 and this year respectively) but weren't.

Am I Right Ladies?! is a sort of companion piece to WWBD? but you don't have to have seen Omielan's debut show in order to enjoy or understand what's going on here. It follows in the same vein of confessional comedy - and it will be an eye-opener for many men in the audience - that hymns the joys of casual sex and being a modern young woman. It's often graphic but never crude as Omielan lays out some ground rules for the guys - “wash your willy!” chief among them - but she has a serious message running through the show.

Omielan is on a mission to get young women – bombarded with instructions about how they should look, what they should eat on their constant diets – to love their bodies, whatever their shape or size. Grabbing hold of her belly, Omielan tells us she loves it because it signifies she goes out with her friends to eat food, drink alcohol and have a good time. “I like looking fly, but I also like Greggs,” she says with a knowing wink.

In a show that's often frantic in pace – sometimes jokes and asides get lost – there are quiet moments when Omielan is more reflective about her depression, but while this material clearly comes from the heart it's never preachy, and often wickedly funny. She talks with touching honesty of the help she eventually got, telling anyone in the audience that the NHS will look after them. There are a few riffs in the show in which Omielan acts out – to great comedic effect – the inner monologues that afflict her at times of stress, or she mimes various scenarios from her seemingly chaotic life. One such was bumping into the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart at a train station; she didn't know whether to hug him goodbye or run after him to tell him she really wasn't over him. Brief Encounter it wasn't.

Omielan talks about why women should be free to enjoy casual sex as much as men without anyone judging them – she wants to change the word slut to “climax fairy” - but also of her disastrous relationships in which her weakness for romance puts her at a disadvantage. And just when she might get all soppy on us – reading a letter written by Napoleon at his most tender to Josephine - she undercuts it with a terrific payoff, a rather less romantic quote from an early boyfriend.

Along the way she leads the audience in a singalong of Adele's “Someone Like You” (word-perfect last night) and the terrific ending gives a nod to one of the most romantic films ever made, Dirty Dancing. It's a funny, touching and rather sweet way to wrap up an hour of life-affirming comedy.

  • Luisa Omielan is at Soho Theatre  until 4 October, then touring What Would Beyoncé Do? until 8 December
It will be an eye-opener for many men in the audience


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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