Joe Sutherland @ Pleasance Courtyard

A promising debut from a characterful former model

Review by Ben Venables | 16 Aug 2017
  • Joe Sutherland

Joe Sutherland has a stage persona that is crying out to become a character. It's stereotypical with a camp, vain and acerbic exterior, but this hides a working class boy from Coventry who loves pub grub and spent his childhood worshiping the Spice Girls. The latter obsession allows him to share some endearing photos, and he also has snaps from later in his life from his 18 months as a model – a career stop that suits, and allows him some fun, with his high-status persona.

It gets interesting when he lets us into the modelling world and the casual homophobia from agencies imploring him to "tone it down" so he could get work looking like one of the lads modelling sportswear. His other strengths come with his physicality. He makes something of a sketch out of how he'd sell the seats in this portacabin, draping himself over them with a mock model pose. He can read a room too, perceptive in knowing he has four small groups to play to rather than one cohesive audience. Bread and butter for a comedian perhaps, but it's impressive how well he balances his performance to each flank and faction of the crowd.

As part of the show he goes through his talents in much the same way as if he was delivering a CV presentation, but sometimes it is just like sitting through a CV presentation. The 'please notice me' shtick is a little wearing and it is unclear how much of a it is tongue-in-cheek. Deliberate or not, it is too on-the-nose. When he is just being himself Sutherland shines, and has more than enough talent to get noticed without the résumé gimmick.

Joe Sutherland: Model / Actress, Pleasance Courtyard (That), until 27 Aug, 10.45pm, £6-9