DeAnne Smith just might be the sweetest girl at the Fringe this year, thus doubling the difficulty of writing her an unsavoury review. Still, as up for the ‘tough crowd’ defense as I am, an hour of Smith’s show convinced me that it need not apply tonight.
Smith’s opening showed delicious promise; after warming up the crowd with a delightfully neurotic yet universally relatable song, she proceeded to warn us that there would be no grand ‘closer’ to her show. Her reasoning here, as well as its extension, was easily the highlight of the show. Unfortunately, it came after only five minutes, and the jokes that immediately followed seemed like they were arriving fifty-five minutes too soon.
What formed, then, was a tragically uncomfortable environment, in which the pitiable Smith did her best to rouse the room. As much as I would’ve liked for her to do so, I can’t forgive her strategies; at one point, she imposed a six-and-a-half-minute break in which she tasked the audience with performing the show, a painful tactic that terminated in Smith yelling “Oh, thank God!” at the sound of the timer.
Making matters worse, Smith repeatedly played on some of the worst homosexual stereotypes. Deanne, you’re a cool girl, but being a lesbian doesn’t mean you can get away with saying you wish you had a ‘c***’ you could shove in your girlfriend’s mouth when she talks too much because—get it?—she’s a girl and girls just love to talk.
Ultimately, DeAnne comes across as a sweet, well-meaning and clever girl, but it seems some discouraging responses in her first shows—at which she hinted several times—have caused her to question her abilities. From here, I can only hope she does what she can to put this week behind her and get back on track.
DeAnne Smith: The Best DeAnne Smith DeAnne Smith Can Be, Wee Room @ Gilded Balloon, 9-29 Aug, 8.15 pm
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