Daisy Earl @ Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose
If Fairy Elephant doesn’t sound like the most flattering nickname, then you can blame Daisy Earl’s mother, who stomps elegantly through this debut hour from the affable half-Scot.
This is a confidently-delivered show, with Daisy Earl a very likeable presence who giggles and smirks her way through some dark terrain. Opening sections about her mother are among the strongest in the show, and observations about ‘mum swearing’ and her parents’ response to the mental health epidemic are original and cutting. In short, her mother seems understanding of Earl’s depression, but unsure of how to talk about it, referring to an adult colouring book as helping with her daughter’s ‘wah wah wah’. Yikes. But this is by no means an ‘adults are stoopid’ show; Earl presents anecdotes about her mother with enough warmth to ensure that she doesn’t come across as a perpetually disappointed millennial.
Indeed, about herself too, Earl is never overly critical to the point of pathetic, and her confident discussion of CBT apps, eating as an addiction and psychologically abusive boyfriends ensures that these potentially comedy-halting topics have admirable levity. However, it becomes evident around the halfway point that Earl is far better than the material she presents, and unfortunately the second half – covering dating apps, weight-loss groups and Wetherspoons – feels like familiar ground.
Earl admits she first got into comedy from doing ‘funny’ characters with her friends, but when she lapses into them onstage, it feels incongruous and ideas are unoriginal. These dissonant lurches into quasi-Boosh territory unbalance the sincerity of the show, especially as Earl launches into self-help back-slapping in the final section.
Based on this debut, Earl is evidently a funny comedian, but needs more depth in her material to elevate her from confident raconteur to formidable comic. Like the titular ‘Fairy Elephant’, Earl might wish to find a middle ground between weighty and weightless: then she may well soar.
Daisy Earl: Fairy Elephant, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Nip), until 26 Aug (not 12), 4pm, £7.50-£9.50