Natalie Haynes review - SkinnyFest 1

Article by Matt Trueman | 14 Aug 2006
Reviewers aren't supposed to mention the speed at which Natalie Haynes rattles through her material this year. She begins her routine with a warning, almost a threat, and continues at breakneck speed without a trace of contrition. While you feel like you're getting your money's worth in terms of bulk of material, it is of a fairly uneven standard.

Haynes has a theory that given how perfectly American television detectives can solve those mysteries at which everyone else merely raises an eyebrow before giving up, the catastrophic issues of the world today should be their responsibility. Put Colombo in the Middle East, she says, and it would be wrapped up in a minute or two.

Thus begins her quest for the world's biggest problem and the man (or female whodunnit author) best suited to the job. The framework is simple, but it's the material that slots around it that actually works better. As a slightly autistic, slightly feminist ex-teacher with a hatred of children, she shows a delightful snappiness at the everyday irritations of modern kids, dating, abortion and new mothers. However, to keep up with her main topic, one really needs to have a fairly extensive knowledge of daytime television.

Ultimately if you like your comedy faster than Ironside on Arthur's Seat, take the trip. But only if that last sentence raised a smile.
Natalie Haynes - Watching the Detectives, Pleasance Courtyard, until August 28 (not 16), 21:00, £10.50/£9.50 (£9/£8).