Naomi Paul: Reshape While Damp
In 2011 Naomi Paul brought an earlier incarnation of Reshape While Damp to the Fringe, but at that time it was a dual monologue with Jenny Stokes performing half the hour. I’m not sure how much of a content crossover there is to this year, but today’s show could have benefited greatly from a change in pace.
As it is, this hour passes very slowly. Paul inhabits the character of a timid Jewish woman struggling with social anxiety, and whose idea of a Saturday night out is a trip to the local hospital following a clumsy soup preparation injury.
The anecdotes don’t get much more interesting as we hear about her renewing her car insurance and accidentally attending flirting classes (a squandered goldmine of a premise). At this point Paul at least has some clear intent as she tries to wring poignancy from the mundane, and occasionally comes close too.
The waters muddy as we progress though, and a couple of musical numbers about library cuts and the coalition government (bold target!) drag on, and carry an inexplicable lack of political bite. Delivery is the main problem though – Paul’s dry tone saps most of the life from her handful of witty observations, leaving only a confused monotonous droning.