Izzy Mant @ Underbelly, Bristo Square

A gentle exploration of how politeness can hold you back with Izzy Mant

Review by Rob Young | 03 Aug 2019
  • Izzy Mant

According to by-day TV producer Izzy Mant, her personal five stages of grief go as follows: denial; denial; denial; what the fuck is happening; do a stand-up comedy course. 

It is noticeable how many of the predictable hallmarks of writing an hour feature appear, as if Mant has come fresh from the thievery of an over-priced workshop. She rather politely completes a checklist of set-list tropes: apologises when a bad pun gets a groan; awkwardly revels in comparison with her lookalike, Samantha Cameron; and peppers her hour with never-quite-convincing call-back props and wacky dancing. Unfortunately, she never seems wholly committed to any form, and the result is – sorry, terribly sorry, really – that Polite Club seems more like a work-in-progress than it should. 

That said, there are some pleasing observations here in a nervy performance – Mant’s take-down of the millennial penchant for the vocal fry is suitably acidic, as are her criticisms of her snobbishly anti-American mother, who staunchly believes that 'LA Confidential' should be pronounced as if it were a titillating French erotica.  

But yes, that’s a joke about LA Confidential, a film not only dated by its year of release (1997) but also by its leading man, Kevin Spacey. Mant continues to draw on 90s references, resulting in the hour occasionally feeling horribly dated.

The show needs more clarity in the material – as well as energy in the performance – to really be convincing. If Mant were a little more comfortable with being weird, then bizarre interludes would be joyous and daring: as it is, they stumble, much like Mant clownishly does after invoking bad luck by saying ‘Macbeth’ in a theatre. Is this a cliché I see before me?

Izzy Mant: Polite ClubUnderbelly Bristo Square (Dexter), until 26 Aug (not 12), 2.50pm, £9-£11