Bella Hull @ Pleasance Courtyard
Bella Hull offers an hour of distinctive mannerisms combined with a wealth of outrageous material
Bella Hull has the comedic brand of a big baby (hence the title of her show, Babycakes); she’s needy, stroppy and a little bit of a diva. She isn’t afraid to tell us that she thinks things should be easier for her – that she shouldn’t have to work but instead should be allowed to exist simply as a MILF.
This onstage persona (and we’re sure it IS a persona) gives the hour a strong base from which to jump between topics like being rude on boats, being attracted to people smarter than her, and her dad’s traumatic psychotic breakdown (she tells us in no uncertain terms that if we don’t laugh at it, then we’re bullying her). She expresses disdain delightfully concisely, often using colourful similes, and can attack those around her and herself in one breath (“Date myself? That’s disgusting, I don’t want to date someone who shoplifts from TK Maxx”).
At various points Hull expresses opinions that are usually considered taboo for the 21st century woman (we’re never really sure how much of this is stage persona and how much is the secret expression of her true self), such as the segment of the show where she explores why feminism has been a disaster (in short: she shouldn’t have to work or vote). Although it’s undeniably fun to see her dance around such a theme, some of the material itself could be sharpened up – there’s a lot of repetition and the punchlines could be stronger. That being said, there’s much here that is excellently silly (“I’ve never been independent. I’ve sometimes been in… da club”).
Babycakes feels like the debut of a character we’ll see grow and evolve over several years. Hull’s distinctive mannerisms combined with a wealth of outrageous material make for a solid foundation – here’s hoping she doesn’t achieve her goal of pre-feminist idleness.
Bella Hull: Babycakes, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Two), until 28 Aug, 6.55pm, £8-11