Sophie Duker Is A Stand-Up Brimming With Potential

Venus, Soho Theatre ★★★☆☆

Sophie Duker Is A Stand-Up Brimming With Potential Venus, Soho Theatre 3

Strutting onto the stage to Venus, Sophie Duker has got it, yeah baby, she's got it. Recognisable from Riot Girls and 8 Out of 10 Cats, the 30-year-old commands the stage like it's her own front room. You feel like an invited guest, not a paying viewer.

Venus also happens to the the name of this Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated show — a mostly autobiographical and self-deprecating piece, which doesn't shy away from some hard-hitting topics (albeit with a lighthearted touch).

Race is one such bone of contention, and despite revealing an unlikely crush on Jacob Rees-Mogg ("It's like if Hugh Grant was selected for Slytherin...") Duker doesn't pull any punches when it comes to white men's synonymity with privilege.

Bisexuality gets the Duker treatment too. "Saying I'm not straight is like telling people I'm right-handed, or a mammal," she sighs, regretting how pedestrian it is to announce these sorts of things on stage now. It's bits like this which show off her clever technique of making the audience get involved in her thoughts and feelings, rather than being the subject of them.

As it stands, Venus feels like a whistle-stop tour of Duker's life experiences, and can come across scatter-gun at times. Some tightening up here and there, a stronger focus on specific talking points — and ideally a few more impressions (she's excellent at these) — and this could be award-winning stuff.

Venus, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St, W1D 3NE, £15. Until 18 Jan 2020

Last Updated 01 November 2019