So, here is a pretty much guaranteed technique to make people applaud three minutes after you tell a joke: do it while holding a guitar. You can strum the guitar, a little. You can sing the joke. If you are Isy Suttie, you can do all three. Nobody will ever quite figure out the significance of the guitar. Nobody really questions it. It is amazing.
We’re doing Isy Suttie a disservice, here – although, not mentioning that she was and is Dobby off of Peep Show in the first paragraph, perhaps we are evens – but there is always something a bit eye roll-y about watching a comic stride onto the stage holding an instrument. Invariably, funny songs fall a little short of being funny. As in, they are basically always terrible.
That, then, makes Suttie’s Pearl and Dave all the more refreshing – the songs aren’t really funny – nor are they especially meant to be, we hope – but the bits in between are. Suttie tells the story of her penpal, Dave, a Northern accountant who lives with his Mum, and of Pearl, who he met at a Butlins in Skegness in 1997 and duly stalked into submission. It’s sort of touching and smart and woven throughout with glancing retellings of Suttie’s own loves and losses, and each voice rings clear as a bell through song. It also features a papier-mâché penguin. The whole thing is pretty great.
The Bloomsbury Theatre, as most of you will know, sells huge plastic cups full of sweets, which the crowd enjoyed on this occasion in front of a support act in the form and shape of Joe Lycett. Lycett (we don’t have enough paragraphs to ham around with it, and so: is the X Factor-style impersonator on BBC One’s Epic Win, if anybody watches that) gets special mention because he made us cry, in a good way, with an anecdote about lemonade. Lemonade. We’re also pretty sure he’s the future, so endeavour to see him. He does not play a guitar.
See Isy Suttie's Pearl and Dave at the Leicester Square Theatre lounge on 10 November.