Sofie Hagen has been building her buzz significantly over the past few years, the Dane winning Best Newcomer for Chortle and making a name for herself via the rap battles, infamously destroying comics and making some cry. So I liked her immediately. Comedy often requires intimate settings, so it can be a bit of a minor setback to have your debut fringe show in The Liquid Rooms. But there’s a queue snaking outside the entrance, solid reviews have led to mass flocks willing to see her, somewhat becoming this year’s Austentatious. Finally inside, people are having to grab extra seats or migrate to the balcony. The room is no longer vacuous.
Bubblewrap begins with a tale of how Hagen was challenged to a sex act that she might not have expected but moves to an account of Hagen’s almost sociopathic deep obsession with Westlife as a young teenager, reciting diary extracts of short stories she made that have a twisted innocence that get a lot of laughs from the audience. Hagen give a rather candid deeply personal account of her battle with mental illness growing up, but delivers it with a light touch invoking the audience to laugh along with her.
Hagen certainly makes good company to spend time with; it’s very easy to warm to her especially giving that she makes herself the centre of the joke the majority of the time and brings her story full circle with an emotional arc. Although capable of big laughs, she still somewhat feels a bit of a newcomer. It’s unclear whether this is out of nerves or English being her second language, but there is a tendency that she seems to just say something for fear of dead air and sometimes her delivery seems a little off. Also her comedy output is almost purely verbal, it would be interesting to see if she has the capacity to pull of physical nuances in time to come. Bubblewrap is a strong debut show for a comedian who is not quite there yet, but certainly a diamond in the rough.
***(and a half)