Sophie Duker @ Pleasance Courtyard

Sophie Duker’s debut Fringe show, Venus, is unapologetic and hilarious

Review by Yasmin Hackett | 03 Aug 2019
  • Sophie Duker

Sophie Duker is one of the growing number of minority voices who are making comedy a far more interesting, and funnier, game. There’s a certain skill in playfully picking on white male audience members for their privilege, and making them feel completely at ease. But this is Duker’s style: she weaves through some brilliant material ranging from the fetishisation of black women, and ‘White Saviorism’ on Tinder, to West African aunties in London, and she does it with complete ease. Her conversational style lends itself to some excellent crowd work and pitch-perfect delivery, presumably deep-rooted in her origins as an improv comic. Duker comes across as an extremely accomplished comic for someone at a relatively early stage in their career.

There is frustration behind Venus, mostly prevalent in the perception of black women, who are frequently romanticised and fetishised or made to feel alienated; but who are also made to feel like ‘angry black women’ when they try and speak out. This makes for some great observational material, which she moves through deftly, dedicating enough time to these subjects so that it rarely feels as though she’s just skimming through them. And, if there are ever times where particular sections are left up in the air, she always comes back to them, making for a thoughtful structural cohesion to the hour. An excellent debut from a skilful and exciting young comedian.

Sophie Duker: Venus, Pleasance Courtyard (Below), until 25 Aug (not 14), 7pm, £6.50-£9