Heidi Regan – Heidi vs Sharks
‘Heidi vs Sharks’ was supposedly born from Regen’s discovery that the most important and pressing things are often the least fun and her subsequent desire to change this by writing a show which focuses on both the Trans Trade and Investment Partnership and low budget shark movies. While the trimmed version of the show hones in a little more on the latter, the resulting hour of entertainment is a harmonious union of the dull and the dumb. Accompanied by a textbook PowerPoint presentation, Regan performs her set with the dorky and understated charm of a primary school substitute teacher. This fits wonderfully with the oddly intimate story of her relationship with shark movies and how they co-align with her story of coming out, a story that makes up the main bulk of the show. The combination of these elements results in a a show that is smart, positive and personal while being consistently funny throughout its entire runtime.
You may breathe a sigh of relief when Freya Slipper slips out of the stomach-churning character she initially walks onto the stage portraying. From this point on, Slipper constantly moves between an eclectic cast of memorable characters with impressive ease. These characters are used both to tell the fictional story of Linda, an everyday British woman selected to be a martian pioneer, and to provide an excuse for extended periods of varied audience interaction. The latter makes for some of the shows funniest moments, Freya both relying on and playing off of the creativity of a handful of audience members. The prior is used to make a metaphorical point that, while being one that’s worth making, comes across a little hamfisted when it’s explained in the shows conclusion. You get the feeling Slipper is trying to make out it has more depth than is actually present. Despite this, the sheer talent and charisma on display makes this a show well worth your time and money.
★★★ and a half
Gender politics is an incredibly divisive topic, and it’s become a rarity to find people who haven’t been polarised one way or another. Liam Whitnail is one of these rarities, venturing into the conversation from a middle of the road, reasonable, stance that is simultaneously unlikely to offend but also unlikely to push boundaries in either direction. While comfortably nestled on the fence, he is given room to shoot at the extremes of both sides, and does so fairly effectively. His satirical approach is accompanied by frequent self-analysis and toying of the audiences expectations. However, the prior seems more like a necessity with the show ending on an epilogue deconstructing his own message and point. This felt more like a required tag on to the end, following walkouts in previous shows from audience members who didn’t get the joke. This sense of safety is consistent throughout the show, with his softer than average approach to satire being very endearing but also a little unexciting.
★★★ and a half
Louis Boyd Madsen