Jay Lafferty @ Gilded Balloon Teviot
Scottish circuit favourite Jay Lafferty is on form with her lockdown laughs
Jay Lafferty’s opening gambit is a winning one: checking in with how many double-jabbed – and single-jabbed – are in tonight's audience. It’s an economical way of both establishing our recent collective experience, and soothing the nerves, at a moment when we’re still unused to being an audience. She’s a dab hand at crowd work generally – deftly weaving in snippets gleaned from the audience – and referring back to individuals by name throughout the set.
And it’s a really solid set – if a touch predictable at times, with lots of material about lockdown. The inevitable 'Amazon guy' makes an appearance, as we hear about the daft impulse buys and the neighbours who didn’t clap for Captain Tom. She’s exasperated by ‘wild’ swimming (this after her initial excitement about its potential, thrilled by the idea of no standard strokes and the freedom of ‘flailing around like a trout in a mosh pit’), and irritated by all the bootcamp classes after feeling bullied by This Morning’s Holly and Phil into addressing the lockdown weight.
There’s a move back in with her mum and dad during lockdown, and the return to her 90s shrine of a childhood bedroom which is the hinge to some strong material about growing up in Greenock. The segment also includes a great story about an elaborate act of Alanis Morrisette-inspired revenge at drama school.
Lafferty’s a very accomplished performer – and the set has a sense of easy abundance, but while she’s great at using what the audience give her, the energy of Blether occasionally sags. Socially-distanced, slightly uneasy audiences are a tricky proposition for any performer, particularly one who clearly thrives on spontaneous interaction.
Jay Lafferty: Blether, Gilded Balloon Teviot, run ended. Reviewed 23 Aug.