Sometimes life imitates art. Not 15 minutes after coming out of Ava Vidal’s He’s Not A Keeper, your reviewer was walking alone down Charing Cross Road when a large drunk man thought it would be amusing to walk to block my path and stick his arse in my groin. He was clearly unprepared for my response of telling him not to be such a fucking dick and shoving him out of my way (inadvertently using a handful of back fat, urgh), as he immediately began shouting ‘you’re a fucking slag, a fucking whore’.
‘What, because I didn’t accept your “advances”, didn’t want you in my face?’
‘You fucking cunt! What’re you gonna do about it, eh?’
Definitely not a keeper.
Yet this is small fry compared to some of the stories shared by Ava Vidal, in a show prompted by one of the weirdest emails from a boyfriend we’ve ever heard. She’s been gathering stories from women and gay men about awful first dates, and that time in a relationship when you realise he’s just not a keeper. And yes, they’re all about men. There will be some among you currently thinking: misandry. But we live in a world where some men think it’s perfectly fine to grind their backside into a strange woman on the street; sometimes, it’s nice to have a space to laugh about this stuff.
The great thing about Ava Vidal is that she’s drier than a sponge in the Sahara and delivers all these terrible relationship tales, interspersed with snippets from her own life, with self awareness and self deprecation. She has the take-no-crap demeanour befitting someone who spent five years as a prison guard at Pentonville and is one of those comedians you secretly wish was your friend because the pub chats would be fantastic. And she’s funny. Of course she’s funny. How can these stories, told deadpan, not be funny? Oh, and be prepared to share your own.
Ava Vidal: He’s Not A Keeper is on at the Soho Theatre, Dean Street, until 21 September. Tickets £12.50 / £10. Londonist saw this performance on a complimentary review ticket.