Right now the Soho Theatre is hosting Susan Calman‘s Edinburgh show This Lady’s Not for Turning Either, which is 45 minutes’ worth of material on Calman’s life as a newlywed.
Well, we say “wed,” but that’s not strictly true – Calman can’t actually marry her partner. All she can do is enter into a civil partnership, or as Calman puts it: she can get “civil partnered”, which as she points out sounds like something painful that happens to you on a Friday night.
It’s less political than it sounds, save for a touching finale in which Calman lays out the central joke of the show – that she has met someone who, against the odds, wants to marry her, and for some reason that’s illegal.
To be honest, when Londonist heard that synopsis, we prepared ourselves for 45 minutes’ worth of political ranting. That’s not what we got; we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves watching a tiny grinning woman dance about the stage with a seemingly limitless supply of energy. And, of course, if you’ve heard Calman on The News Quiz, you’ll know that she’s incredibly wry, tirelessly upbeat and often very, very funny.
The bulk of the show is taken up by Calman’s list of “eight reasons nobody should marry me”, which range from the surreal (she dresses up her cats for something called “Prime Suspect day”) to the completely understandable (she can bite her own toenails). And while a section on her obsession with DCI Jane Tennison drags on, Calman has an infectious, energetic cheeriness that carries us over that minor speedbump.
And that’s the thing, really – This Lady’s Not for Turning Either is a bit of an oddity, dancing over that line between middle-ground personal material and justifiably-angry political statements, but it’s never inaccessible. There’s nothing here that will blow you away, exactly, but the whole show acts as a delivery mechanism for a message rarely explored with such a light comic touch.
Susan Calman is playing at the Soho Theatre until 24 November, 7.45pm, £17.50 / £15. For more information see the Soho Theatre website. We saw this show on a press ticket.