Diane Spencer: Power Tool

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 10 Aug 2015

Anecdotal comedy has a tendency to bring the exaggerated set-piece moments to the fore and leave the unshowy minutiae by the wayside. Diane Spencer mercifully bucks this trend with a show that recounts the trivial as entertainingly as it does the momentous.

It begins as a woe-is-me lamentation of the travails of the property market. There's lots of self-pity, but very little self-deprecation; she appears irritated by everything but without the storytelling skills to levy her audience into a position of empathy. The narrative perspective is supposed to be a glimpse through the eyes of a victim of circumstance, but initially she struggles to find a balance between contemplation and defeatism. It markedly improves, however, with a cathartic tirade about experiences writing a Fringe show for Nancy Dell'Olio, becoming gleefully purgative and providing an intriguing insight into the difficulties of working with what appears to be an entitled diva. Spencer is rightfully embittered and does as any good comedian should: she turns misery into satire. She posseses the natural delivery of a raconteur, and executes climactic punchlines well.

Thread through her anecdotes is the recurrent idea of identifying one's priorities in life, the things that truly satisfy you, and battling through the adversity to devote yourself to that. Perhaps the notion that humour can be derived from the most testing of times is a well-worn one, but Spencer's enduring flippancy in the face of such chagrin is enjoyable to watch unfold.