Liz Kingsman: One Woman Show at Ambassadors Theater review

(Will Bremridge)

When Liz Kingsman’s brilliantly silly One Woman Show opened at the Soho Theater in 2021, I suggested comedy fans do anything legal to get a ticket. Having now enjoyed an improved version, I reiterate. In fact, maybe even breaking a minor rule if it helps you get to the gig.

In this self-penned monologue with no gaps, Kingsman plays an enhanced satirical version of herself, an aspiring actress filming her solo set, titled Wildfowl, to send to a television curator. Her fictional, nameless incarnation in a game works at the London Wetlands Center and her job involves marketing, although she’s so scatty she doesn’t really know what marketing is.

This inconsistency also extends to rest hours. Now approaching her 30s, she talks about her friends posting on social media about having their lives sorted – being selected for a mission to Mars, for example – and worries she’ll be a waste by comparison. She, on the other hand, has one-night stands and does not know where she is in the morning. Luckily, she tends to be home and struggling to get by.

Kingsman has been observed sending Fleabag – never named but definitely alluded to – and the larger trope of chaotic, clumsy, messy women who do gender disservices and perpetuate stereotypes. But it’s less a direct parody, more a show that works on many levels. Kingsman, who originally made his name in the sketch group Massive Dad, has crafted a masterpiece that never misses a trick.

Brilliantly Silly: Liz Kingsman (Will Bremridge)

Brilliantly Silly: Liz Kingsman (Will Bremridge)

There are inspired moments that refer to the theatrical artifice itself. At one point, she references a gap on stage that until now was completely invisible to anyone occupying expensive seats. Elsewhere, crucial speech is undermined by a squeaky prop. Even clever sips of water become an excuse for a visual gag.

The script is perfect, whether it’s deliberately squashed lines on the daily commute on the “underground train network” and “I just have a memory”, spontaneously launching into the poetry of the performance or send romantic love scenes that jump randomly from place to place.

While there are clearly political points to how women are portrayed in art, the serious message would not be conveyed so succinctly if the wit were less sharp. Kingsman executes every comedic twist exquisitely.

Director Adam Brace helps maintain a pace that never drops. The set consists of little more than a swivel chair that gets its own comedic moment in the spotlight near the end. Although nothing can eclipse Kingsman. The number one comedy of 2021 is now also the number one comedy of 2022.

Ambassadors Theater, until January 21; buy tickets here

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