Scarcely two minutes into You'll Never Have All Of Me and Natasia Demetriou has already snogged the bejesus out of an audience member, and given us a none-too-stingy flash of her pants. In fairness, she's probably a bit jittery: this is her first outing away from comedy counterparts Oyster Eyes, and Demetriou makes this no secret. Her opening musical number is a lament about going it alone, featuring a hilarious pop-up cameo from brother Jamie Demetriou.
But hold up — all is not what it seems. Londonist first saw a rough cut of You'll Never Have All Of Me at The Invisible Dot the best part of a year ago. So Demetriou has been on her tod for some time. And even though the show is now back at the same venue — by way of a slew of Edinburgh shows this summer — little in the formula has developed. There are two reasons for this. One is laziness (the self-deprecating comedian as good as admits this herself). The other is that Demetriou could well be suffering from Miliband Syndrome — surrounding herself with people who agree (or in this case, laugh) more zealously and audibly than they perhaps should. There are definitely a fair few friends in tonight.
Much of Demetriou's comedy centres around her unease — the kind that swiftly follows up half-baked punchlines with a short burst of Katy Perry's Roar and a little boogie. It's often funny to see a comedian draw attention to their own shortcomings, but Demetriou does it a little too often.
When she moves onto the character comedy, her creations prove all but one dimensional. A Scottish martial arts instructor with a fixation on the Tudors explains to us early on that we're not going to find out why she has it (and we don't). Another character though — an Eastern European mother with babe in arms trying to cut it as a stand-up — has promise. And the concept that she doesn't want us to laugh (lest we wake the baby and she has to feed it more carrots) is brilliant. But again, structure is lacking, and the gag tapers off.
Then there's that guy Demetriou snogged. This is just the beginning of his run-ins with the comedian. For the rest of the set, Demetriou has Tom (how could we not remember the poor guy's name) up and down from his seat like a yo-yo — cajoled into singing, grappling and canoodling with her. There's nowt wrong with a bit of audience participation, but Tom becomes an overused flesh prop. Again it's the sign of a comedian who doesn't yet have the confidence to brave the perilous waters of comedy without some kind of floating device (in this case, Tom).
For all the cracks in the show, we admire Natasia Demetriou for her skittish sense of humour, and the manner in which she owns the stage. And when she is funny, she's VERY funny. What prompted bona fide belly laughs from Londonist were the short films Demetriou has made to paper over her costume changes. One is a video of her dad, struggling to tell a bad joke about a sandwich through tears of laughter (now THERE'S a Demetriou we want to see on stage). In another, she plays a demented American stylist who bullies bald men, paints heavy brows on a bride-to-be, and shoves a gun in someone's gob ("Don't worry, it's real and it's loaded.")
It's better to be gritty round the edges but with latent talent, rather than have a polished show of no real substance. For this reason, You'll never Have All Of Me merits seeing — it's a chance to witness Demetriou in carbon form. If she puts in the legwork, her second solo show could really sparkle.
You'll Never Have All Of Me is at The Invisible Dot until 25 October. Tickets £8/£6.50. 9.15pm Tue-Fri, 6pm Sat. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.