Wounded Animals

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th August 2016


Isobel Roser

at 09:27 on 9th Aug 2016



I’m still trying to wrap my head around this show. Though billed as a stand-up comedy performance, Angela Wand’s ‘Wounded Animals’ pushes the boundaries of what is typically expected from this genre. Wand chooses to delve into the topic of her imperfections, then teases out darker topics relating to the flaws of humanity as a whole. With the subjects of rape, immigration and race cropping up, this is certainly not your average stand-up. An entertaining performance with a deeper message; this show will need a while to fully digest.

Wand enters the theatre dressed in sequins, fur and leopard print, amazing her audience with the height of her platform shoes and the length of her blonde hair extensions. Despite being dressed-to-the-nines, Wand periodically removes her glitzy garments until she is left stripped down to a simple t-shirt and leggings. This activity provides countless laughs, as Wand picks on members of her audience to sport her former attire. Symbolically significant, Wand is now stripped down to the bare essentials and ready to reveal her honest truths.

The show takes the format of a series of ‘confessions’ from Wand. She describes herself as a ‘bad feminist’ because she feels like a ‘dirty old man’ deep down, and a ‘bad vegetarian’ because she loved eating pork fat and tongue as a child. However, rather than falling on a punchline, these confessions of imperfections lead to moments of deliberate unease. Upon explaining her poor vegetarianism, Wand announces that her decision to avoid meat is based upon her fears of contracting Alzheimer’s, a disease which runs in her family. Uncomfortable truths are left out there for the audience to make sense of, tugging at the fine line between comedy and tragedy.

Wand, a very theatrical comic performer, uses tone and pacing to great effect. Not afraid to raise her voice, Wand yells unashamedly to her audience on a number of occasions, grabbing their attention and jolting them to action. Party tricks, including roller skating and flamenco-style-dancing, add a new element to the show, although some aspects are more successful than others. Her circus skills are used to their fullest potential after her recount of a personal intervention to prevent a young girl’s rape, when she proceeds to thrash circus whips around the stage in visceral, furious motions.

Wand’s ‘Wounded Animals’ is certainly not your average stand-up performance: do not buy tickets expecting an evening of continuous laugh-out-loud moments. Though hilarious at times, Wand takes the opportunity to pepper her show with moments of unease and wariness, playing with the idea that tragedy and comedy have a complex, interconnected relationship. Unorthodox but refreshing, Wand offers a new take on traditional forms of comedy.


Toby Clyde

at 11:22 on 9th Aug 2016



Late at night in the Gilded Balloon, ‘super-star clown’ Angela Wand has created a comedy set involving whips, glitter and painfully personal anecdotes on racism and rape. The result is a nigh impossible fit together, a show delivered with great charisma that unfortunately is not enough to animate the parts, let alone the whole.

The opening encapsulates this strangeness, as Ward struts on with a fabulous get-up and camp aplomb. Not everything connects, but that’s fine because she’s suddenly discarding the outfit, moving into a very different tale of her Catholic upbringing. As it rolls on (literally, as she deploys roller skates in a genuinely impressive use of a small stage) this too is a little circular and directionless. Later a digression on vegetarianism is brought up short with an awfully personal confession; the expected punch line vanishes and the effect, though powerful, is incredibly jarring for an audience who are expecting stand-up comedy.

What to make of it? At times these unexpected moments of seriousness are incredibly powerful, and the best part of the show. Wand’s story telling, that covers race, rape and a refugee camp parade, is engrossing and deeply shocking. It is impossible not to feel her fury as she turns the air in to a frenzy of whip cracks and rage. Certainly it is hard not to connect with Wand as her breathy and almost drunk drawl intimately confides with the audience. Finally, as a trained clown she moves with wonderful grace, whether dancing or on wheels.

Yet none of these diverse elements - the brutal honesty, the physical routines or the storytelling - really hold up that well. Much like Wand’s diverse background, an American living in Sweden, they hint at a fascinating array of possibilities, few of which can really be done much justice in this late night comedy slot.


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