Isy Suttie: Pearl And Dave, in The Forge at The Anvil, Basingstoke on Thursday, June 6
RIGHT: I’m going to set myself a challenge with this review. I used the word “lovely” or derivations thereof twice in my interview with Isy Suttie a few weeks ago, several times to her face after the Basingstoke show which I will be focussing on here, and a stonking four times in my last review of comedian Jimeoin. I even used it just now in reference to my toddler spooning rice pudding onto her shepherd’s pie. I have decided that I overuse the word, and I am therefore banning myself from using it any further after this paragraph in my write-up of Suttie’s show. Even though it was lovely (there - sneaked it in).
So, armed with a thesaurus, I will attempt to present to you the heart-warming charm of a one-woman show performed by Suttie (best known as Dobby in Channel 4’s Peep Show with a guitar, telling the story through monologue and song of stifled Northern accountant Dave and equally repressed Surrey housewife Pearl. Having had a near-holiday romance a decade previously, the couple reignite their relationship in the modern manner on Facebook and Skype, finding a mutual bond through an understanding of each other missing from their everyday existence.
Suttie intertwined this imagined story with true (I presume) tales of her own disastrous lovelife prior to meeting her current partner; each relationship beginning with hope and ending with a symbol of doom, from the giant papier mache penguin watching accusingly from the corner of the room, to the boyfriend who took advantage of her sleeping on a train, not to write messages of love on her hand, but to colour it in entirely in black pen.
The telling was interspersed with songs performed in the voices of Pearl (high, rather posh) and Dave (deep, earthy) which demonstrated a delightful lack of self-consciousness on Suttie’s behalf, as her natural tone, showcased on a song written in schoolroom Welsh for her new partner, is actually very sweet.
Like master storyteller Daniel Kitson, the magic of Suttie’s performance was how perfectly truth and fiction interwove, as she was kept in the loop regarding the imagined blossoming relationship between Dave and Pearl through penpal letters from Dave, started in childhood when an addressed balloon freed by Suttie and destined for Australia ended up two gardens away. Such detailed touches made the telling spring to life, and left the audience glowing with delight for both the star-crossed titular couple and Suttie’s own hard-earned happiness. Truly captivating.
- First published in the Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, June 14, 2012