Anna Emerson: An Evening with Patti DuPont @ St. John's

Review by Ben Venables | 15 Aug 2014

Indisposed and unable to attend, Hollywood legend Patti DuPont (whose credits would make The Simpsons' Troy McClure proud) has sent her daughter Linda with a sick note on the back of a paracetamol box. Linda has none of her mother's stage talents but dutifully stumbles through while her mother makes frequent calls in attempts to control and belittle.

This is the premise of Anna Emerson's show, and offering two parodies (albeit with the star mother off-stage) is a near masterstroke. Near, only because there is an anticipation to see Patti – even if only like Roger Moore being on the way to Alan Partridge's Knowing Me, Knowing You (which this show shares a slight similarity with in the host's interruptions, misunderstandings and gradual loss of control).

Some of the material is perhaps too obviously an homage to others. Although even then Emerson, at worst, seems like she's performing a brilliant cover version – a feline equivalent of the 'black dog on the bed' line from The Thick of It stands out. There's a terrible (wonderful) climate joke too, delivered exactly in character from Linda and deserving the wildly disproportionate laugh it gets from thte members of the audience who appreciate it.

St. John's is mid-renovation, but even atheists must have a crafty pray for a congregation to move back in and sort it out. It's tempting to add a star for Emerson simply for being here but it would set a precedent and considerable paperwork from the backlog it would create. It's hardly new but performers are being let down. Still, surroundings are forgotten with a show like this.

Anna Emerson: An Evening with Patti DuPont @ St. John's, 1-24 Aug, 8.45 pm, free