Megan Stalter @ Gilded Balloon Teviot
Meg Stalter delivers an evening of mayhem which pays homage to celebrity insecurity
Megan Stalter (stage persona of Meg) is the kind of person who’s been made insufferable by her own insecurities. She needs the doors shut, the seats at the front filled, and for you to say your lines exactly as she tells you; she’s desperate for the night to go well, and the results are bratty, nauseous attempts at perfectionism. If you don’t know someone like her, you probably are her.
An Evening of Mayhem with Megan Stalter is an hour-long homage to insecurity; from pop diva to book reading and Q&A, the faux-grandeur of the Teviot Debating Hall throws Stalter’s pettiness into harsh contrast. In between, a crowd-favourite segment in which our performer attempts to win our approval by way of a self-programmed lights show. It’s not exactly anti-comedy, but rather anti-music, anti-crowd-work, and anti-book.
Stalter’s a dangerously convincing actor when she wants to be – when she tells us that the show is being recorded to make her upcoming special, approximately 30 per cent of the audience turn over their shoulders to check out the camera. But she breaks character often, which proves to be a double-edged sword. Stalter could easily build up more tension in the room by dropping the various asides of “imagine this was the whole show”, but she also makes herself laugh constantly and the feeling that she is enjoying herself is properly infectious.
This is probably not a show for everyone – multiple audience members wait until she has her back turned to try to sneak out (they fail, and she chases them down the aisle to find out which show they’re going to see next). It's certainly not the most rigidly shaped hour in the world, but that looseness gives Stalter the space to play with the crowd more than she otherwise might, and deliver on the mayhem which the title promises. This is one for the people who can cope with, and maybe even enjoy, the feeling that the wheels could fall off at any second.
An Evening of Mayhem with Megan Stalter, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Debating Hall), until 27 Aug (not 24), 8.30pm, £17-18