Esther Manito @ The Stand, Glasgow
Hell Hath No Fury is an evocative and defiant title for Esther Manito’s most recent tour, and Manito’s material and performance live up to it
The discourse in Esther Manito's new touring show Hell Hath No Fury deals not only with Manito’s frustration in her position as a wife and mother – where a recurring impression of her husband attempting to table ‘anal’ as an activity in a guttural grunt is particularly funny – but also that of merely existing as a woman in East London. A moment relating to the rudimentary behaviour of collective West Ham fans, and a frankly baffling request from one, stands particularly tall.
Manito’s big swings are impressive: in dealing with inappropriate behaviour and intimidation on the tube, Manito’s increasingly alarming response is deftly delivered in tandem with a dramatic wilting against The Stand’s iconic back wall. The physical comedy deployed throughout the show is effervescent as she embodies the headspace or character that each anecdote necessitates.
No one is safe from Manito’s titular fury, as she aims the barrel at herself for a cripplingly funny observation about the mother-son relationship dynamic, forecasting that her own relationship with her son will turn to a socially tragic one, with a punchline so incisively funny that you know exactly the nature she is describing. Self-deprecation is well-handled, as Manito comfortably tackles everything from discovering an empty home in comparable condition to a murder scene (replete with her husband’s explanation via text that is worryingly vague), to the one instance in which a Tena Lady maybe isn’t ideal.
What’s startling is that all of this is delivered in such an instantly likable and comfortable manner by Manito, that it feels like a particularly funny off-the-cuff conversation had late night with wine and a friend. Her ability to situate her audience comfortably on the far end of her rejoinders is as immediately present on stage as she is. Even the stage itself, in all of its phallically-shaped glory, isn’t safe from her ire.