Catriona Knox: Packed Lunch
Catriona Knox's new show begins by her greeting the audience as they file into the venue, in character as a Greek restaurateur. She hands each of us a menu and, once we're seated, proceeds to take the front row's orders. The joke, it transpires, is that the dining establishment is badly stocked. Though the routine generates only smatterings of laughs, Knox ploughs ahead with it and wins us over through effort alone. However, that a character with so little comic mileage should reappear later on in the show is a bad sign.
A member of the Boom Jennies, Knox is a supremely skilled performer and always throws herself into her creations. Her jilted bride's delusions are revealed over a beautifully constructed monologue, her portrayal of an urban school leaver demands the audience's empathy and the reminiscences of her aged Hollywood starlet are reeled off with a regal flourish.
Unfortunately each of these characters fails to get a laugh big enough to justify their place in a comedy show. Only her intense portrayals of Sarah, Duchess of York watching the recent Royal Wedding and an insecure make-up obsessive on a blind date go down well with the audience, and have solid punchlines. If her eventual return as the Greek lady proves anything, it's that Knox struggles to match her sizeable skills as a comic actress with her efforts as a writer.