For the first time ever, I was tempted to get up and walk out of a show. I went to see Manic Pixie Dream Girls (Mash House 1700), starring Sophie Duker and Erin Simmons, with special guest Emma Sidi. Whilst a lot of the audience were laughing at this show, I felt totally out of my depth on a cultural level, not getting any of the allusions. In fairness, white, working class, just turned 40 chaps probably aren’t their target audience, but cripes it was hard work to sit through at times when you have no idea what the reference points are and this was a shame as both Duker and Simmons have a lot of skill.
The show began in darkness and this stretched out for such a long time, I was beginning to wonder if the tech lad had missed his cue. Once the performance began properly, both ladies gave the introduction, explained the title and demonstrated strong synchronisation skills. This was all pretty light and fun. From here, Sophie Duker remained on the stage to do her part and this is where it began, for me, although not for everyone else, to go downhill. She made some jokes about feminism, discussed 12 years a slave (Boy owns girl was a good line), but this was probably the last cultural reference I got in any significant way. It suddenly struck me that I have absolutely no idea even what colour Beyonce is (I’m pretty decent on ELO and Wagner’s Ring Cylcle, though, but it wasn’t that kind of show) and so this was a uphill struggle for me. People were laughing and I had no idea why. Duker is an energetic performer, who was in time to the music and delivered her section with conviction and no erms or pauses.
The special guest was Emma Sidi who began her part in Spanish, continued in Spanish, did a bit more in Spanish and then for good measure concluded in Spanish. There was the odd word that was recognisable, such as Beyonce (again), Charlie Sheen and bits of Harry Potter, but Julio Geordio this wasn’t. In fairness, when she took a telephone call in English, that bit was good, but otherwise the only part of her performance I was happy with was when she said Pointo Finale. Although I wasn’t laughing and was having fantasies of forming a one person escape committee, the rest of the room were having a great time and laughing regularly. Since the chances of me sitting in a room with 30 people who all understood Spanish are slim, all I can conclude is that sadly this was a performance that went right over my head, which is disappointing on more than one level.
The final segment was performed by Simmons and concerned her Texan background and a close family friend, all told with the benefit of A3 sized pictures. She was a charming and happy presence and whilst the material wasn’t that strong and nothing was massively funny, it was an amiable 10 minutes or so and passed pleasantly enough.
This was an awkward show for me and I think I missed approximately 95% of what everyone else found funny. I’m glad that I took a chance on it, though, and I wouldn’t tell people not to see it, as everyone else had a good time and there were a lot of good aspects, such as the performances of the two stars, but I found it very hard work to sit through.