EFR - Reviews of DillyDolly

DillyDolly

Wed 14th – Sun 25th August 2013

reviews

Alex Wilson

at 16:07 on 17th Aug 2013

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The title of this stand-up act strikes one as being suitably silly for the fare served up by Cheekykita, who, to give a sense of the kind of laughs sought, during her introduction bungles out her name as "Chicken Tikka". To be fair, this could go either way, but what with the general quirkiness of her demeanour and appearance, replete with a head of eccentric curls that had me questioning hair or wig, I am tempted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Most of all, I was also won over by her enigmatic vocal tone and the energy of her delivery.

She begins her act, face positioned in the hole of a starry backcloth, while explaining she has now become a black hole. Apparently, this is the result of the happenings of her “weird Tuesday” and the frothy absurdity continues from that point onwards. We have her intoning streams of repetitive nonsense sounds – wittily, if that is possible – to pop tunes, performing a robotic lizard ballet (with the “t” pronounced, naturally), a staring competition with a balloon, which the audience is then encouraged to feed with crisps… The balloon escapes into space, at which point Kita then transforms into a cloak-adorned ninja, a “flapper” (not that kind of flapper, she drily rebukes the audience…); the story’s absurdity increases with a syringe-bearing stalker and a squirrel that is keen to stuff its face with crisps, while attempting not to actually ingest crisps from the floor, making a surprisingly hilarious spectacle. I should apologise for cluttering the review so much with plot, but I feel the compulsion to recount some of the narrative just to give a sense of its fanciful invention: frivolous but fun.

For me, the major selling point must be the rapport Kita builds with her audience – the way she adroitly manages to draw the audience into prolonged and absurd interaction. But importantly, this is friendly and careful not to cause any embarrassment, even as she, for instance, thrusts her foot against one audience member’s ear for a telephone conversation, has a ninja duel with another, and entices yet others under a black blanket to improvise a “missing persons’ song”.

Kita had presence and was warmly liked by her audience. A few mishaps occurred on stage with a falling backcloth, but she absorbed this into her routine, and indeed these spontaneous moments were some of the funniest; this was proof of Kita’s skill in improvising according to audience and situation.

However, this show is not for everyone. I did feel the silliness wearing at times – I could not entirely avoid a shameful desire for more standard witty or situational comedy! And it must be said that this wasn’t the most fluid and polished of shows. Nevertheless, I would err on the side of giving ‘DillyDolly’ a chance, rather than letting it simply pass by.

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Victoria Ferguson

at 07:34 on 19th Aug 2013

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Walking past the loos in The Newsroom, I see a woman standing at the mirror carefully arranging a pair of tights on her head into a bizarre kind of turban. Well, why not? This is the Fringe after all. Having taken my seat in the bar’s cool, shabby basement I’m treated to an impromptu pre-performance fashion show as the peculiar headdress is paraded around the room: "Does this look okay or should I put knickers on my head?"

This is the kind of daftness that characterises Cheekykita’s act, which is entirely absurd. ‘Absurd’ here is not supposed to be an insult per se because ‘Dilly Dolly’ is meant to be utterly weird. However, with no coherent plot and a heavy reliance on slapstick comedy, the show failed to elicit more than awkward laughter from this particular reviewer.

I managed to smile my way through what might have been an extremely uncomfortable hour because of Cheekykita’s wonderful unashamedness. From a deliberately painful karaoke rendition of Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling’ to a staring competition with a face painted onto a balloon named Charlie, there was no pretence of clever humour; she was merely trying to get some laughs out of a young crowd that was fairly willing to give them.

While this meant that her performance did have the feel of a 3-year-old’s birthday party with its use of silly voices, falling over and – yes – even a mild food fight, it gave the audience permission to sit back and enjoy the nonsense for what it was. One audience member in particular – a blonde boy who couldn’t have been older than four – was in hysterics and was practically uncontrollable throughout the show. When his spontaneous cry of “booby cheeky” got turned into a song by the crazy Cheekykita his face turned almost purple with glee, so she must have been doing something right.

Perhaps poor Cheekykita just had a stroke of bad luck in getting me as her reviewer. Maybe if I were the kind of person who got kicks out of screaming out “booby cheeky” in public I would have enjoyed the experience, but it really was just too daft for me to make any sense of it.

If you’re walking past The Newsroom one evening and fancy something silly and unchallenging, Cheekykita can act as a surrogate for that friend who after a few drinks will make a complete fool of themself just for the sake of it. But if, like me, it’s been a little too long since anyone would have had a hope of making you laugh by dancing like a zombie lizard with knickers on their head, perhaps this show isn’t quite for you.

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