Comedy Review: Danielle Walker Is Bush Rat, But We're Not Sure Why That's Funny
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Danielle Walker begins her show by explaining why she's called it Bush Rat. It's the name her grandfather gave her due to her fondness for the Australian bush. And as Walker tells the story she pauses for laughs, but for the most part, they don't come. Or at least not as frequently as she pauses for them. This opening sums up the whole show.
Walker's got plenty of good material to draw from. She grew up with a particularly eccentric family — her grandad likes hanging out in his grave (he's not dead) — in the Australian provinces. However she often stumbles through the jokes or gets sidelined on a tangent, all the while painfully reminding the audience that this isn't part of the script. This is Walker's first show in London, and she's still finding her feet, a process that takes time, but for now things are a little awkward. The night's best moments come when she veers away from the bush and talks about more universal topics like social media. It's an inversion of the norm — what seems like the weakest material for jokes produces some of her best stuff.
Behind Walker is a projected screen with a slideshow, mainly displaying Walker's illustrations. There are decent laughs from some drawings. Her use of a horse and jockey as an analogy for consent in sexual relationships gets the night's biggest laugh. However, the illustrations highlight one of Walker's biggest mistakes: repeatedly returning to some of her weakest material in the show (illustrated pig contraptions, here's looking at you).
Then, just as things are kicking into gear and we're ready to forgive the missteps that came before, people around us are... applauding. The show's over? It didn't feel like an hour, and we slink away from our seat unsatisfied. Danielle Walker is a talented comedian, who will doubtless produce a great show sometime in the future. Bush Rat just isn't it.
Danielle Walker: Bush Rat, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE, £11-£16. Until 2 February 2019.
Last Updated 25 January 2019