Susan Calman, The Last Woman on Earth

Review by Frank Lazarski | 25 Aug 2009

"It’s not that I don’t like men," bellows Susan Calman in the opening five minutes of this show, "it’s just that I find them all utterly repulsive!" Dressed in some wide leg jeans and a poorly knotted tie - "dyke wear", she insists - she presents herself to the enraptured attention of a sold-out auditorium. This year’s set begins with the premise that a bomb has been detonated somewhere outside the venue, and that the people inside, watching the show, are the only ones left on earth. This hastily conceived microcosm then allows Calman to turn her eye on the audience and society at large.

She begins by designating who should be kept and who should be eaten. A PhD student whose thesis concerns Eton is to be devoured ("that must be the most elitist field of study imaginable," she laughs) whilst his wife, "a hot older lady", is to be left alone. The heterosexuals are then classified, as are the homosexuals, and a stud is sought so that the group may repopulate the world. Calman is at ease on stage and she certainly knows how to work the crowd, delivering the material with a hungry exuberance. But a great portion of the show relies upon the primitive distinctions between the straights and the gays, the men and the women. Every gag has her feisty lesbian ego at its core, and her insistence on framing every interaction or situation within cliched caricatures is an exhausting exercise in pointless human classification.

Read an alternative review of Susan Calman's The Last Woman on Earth here.