As a middle-class Canadian girl who chose to go it alone in comedy instead of the easy life, you’d expect her to be able to justify that move with some good material. It’s a shame, then, that her new show Don’t Tell My Dad is distinctly lacking in laughs and originality.
Manders performs musical comedy loosely anchored in the Folk genre, and she is a decent enough singer and guitarist. The problem is that the genre in which she categorises herself implies a level of humour largely absent from the content itself. There is nothing being satirised, just quirky lyrics and some lines that are sung faster than others, giving the appearance of a punchline.
Though the loose narrative of her progression from naïve to experienced is engaging enough to follow, the same, trite, “I appear nice but am actually a crazy woman” rhetoric is used over and over to no incremental avail.
It’s passable if all you seek is an evening of adequate folk music, but it falls apart if you begin to probe it for comedic value.
Words: Matthew Sharpe
Chelsea Manders: Don’t Tell My Dad, Assembly George Square Studios, Jul 30 – Aug 25 (not 11), 22:30