Review: Jade Allen: Over Easy, Etcetera Theatre Camden 2019 ★★★★☆

Ah a female stand-up comedian! Prepare for a heavy feminist, boob-empowered set… or in the case of Jade Allen, just absolutely don’t and make sure everyone knows it. From the get-go, everyone crammed into Camden’s Etcetera theatre knows that this woman isn’t going to follow the comedy ‘rules’ or stereotypes; the set is introduced as a ‘buffet’, not for everyone, but full of a variety of little snacks for the audience to enjoy. An interesting way to begin, but thanks for the heads-up, I guess.

Allen was graciously received by the audience, even her walk onto the stage was greeted by laughs. The main thing about stand-up is that it needs to be funny, and she never fell short of that at all – which is a sigh of relief for anyone watching. Endearingly, some of the laughs in the wrong place either knocked her off her rhythm, or simply showed Allen pausing in gratitude for every out-of-time chuckle. There was quite a few lovely moments of audience interaction with one theatre-goer whose laugh particularly caught everyone’s attention. Jade certainly wasn’t averse to a little participation from the audience, a highlight being her giving people directions home purely by chicken shops, increasingly getting more obscure and hilarious by each turn.

Allen dropped in a few musical interludes, analysing some very questionable ‘romantic’ lyrics, or more, just absolutely judging them. When a comedian says they’re going to sing, I must admit a bit of grimace tends to appear on my face, but once again she displayed a good bit of wit (and a pleasant voice – phew), which really gave the set a delightful balance and was probably some of my favourite moments.

The ‘buffet’ style definitely did a lot of favours, some skits may not have been absolutely to my tastes, but the frequent switching and playing around gave the whole set an excellent pace, and could probably have kept me watching for another hour without me even realising. Honestly, my only main criticism is the PLASTIC STRAW in her water, truly a woman not living her life by what trends on Facebook. Both that glass of water and her set were indeed refreshing. I’d definitely go back for seconds.

Jade and her show were endearing, varied, witty and refreshing.

Performances of her show Over Easy have now finished, but Jade Allen will be back performing a new show at Camden Fringe this summer.

London-based arts reviewer.