Louisa Fitzhardinge @ Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose

Louisa Fitzhardinge offers a linguistic love letter that sings in places

Review by Rob Young | 05 Aug 2019
  • Louisa Fitzhardinge

Louisa Fitzhardinge has fifteen different letters of the alphabet in her name – including all the vowels – and any less than that would be a blight on her grammar nerd persona. Or should that be fewer? In any case, this breezy, light-hearted cabaret about Fitzhardinge’s love of language is squarely aimed at the kind of people who wince at a rogue apostrophe, although it often lacks the cutting edge of, say, a forward slash. 

There is much to admire here in Fitzhardinge’s songs, as she pastiches everything from Cole Porter to Gotye and Australian folk songs to present a charming exploration of the English language’s many quirks. One highlight is the sultry number Grammar Makes Me Hot, which expertly puns on the word ‘colon’ and considers the BDSM undertones of the subordinate clause. As well as in musical theatre, Fitzhardinge has a degree in French and German, leading to an impressively polyglottal finale which, though entertaining, lacks comedic bite. 

And this is perhaps where Comma Sutra trips itself up, for Fitzhardinge’s delivery is just too rehearsed and knowing in places. Meanwhile, her comedic style is occasionally dated, as she proudly sings about dad jokes and kills five minutes by showing us some viral images of grammar errors, almost as if she is discovering social media for the first time.

Ultimately, Fitzahardinge’s show is an entertaining way to spend an hour, with some rousing moments for all the linguistics lovers out there. It’s just a shame that this celebration of grammar sometimes feels like a long-old sentence.

Louisa Fitzhardinge: Comma Sutra, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Nip), until 26 Aug (not 13), 9pm, £9-£11