STEPHANIE LAING: MAD ABOUT THE BOY
Stephanie Laing’s show is in the ‘comedy as therapy for the comic’ genre, of which there are quite a few nowadays. There are actually quite a lot of boys in it, and no shortage of madness, hers or theirs. Her openness about her vulnerability and her mental health problems makes her fragility obvious, and her stated desire to somehow use stand-up as a healing process excites some sympathy. But the show itself is all a bit self-consciously nervy and unco-ordinated. It includes obsessively detailed descriptions of early sexual ineptitudes (who hasn’t had those?); a lengthy verbatim recounting of weird online interchanges with would-be lovers; and her inability as a self-harmer to get along with a partner who self-harms in different ways from hers. This is a brave and self-exposing stance, and full marks for that; and she does get laughs here and there from a sympathetic audience: after all, anything to do with sex is going to get a laugh. But in the end listening to endless dysfunctional encounters between seriously dysfunctional people, unrelieved by any particular warmth or affection, isn’t exactly comedy gold.
John Christopher Wood