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Review of Katherine Ryan: Katebum at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Just over a week after my first experience of stand-up in the Derngate, I was back and fearful that another avenue of theatre was opening up before me like a great chasm in my wallet. Katherine Ryan just like Ed Byrne was familiar to me only though TV panel shows, so once again unshackled from the constraints of TV it would be interesting to see what was up.

It was as it turned out going to be a while before I was to see what was up, the other side of the interval in fact. As I was this night to experience my first ever support act. Mr Stephen Bailey at the very least prepared me well for Ryan's act, as we had some of the more gay offensive jokes you could ever wish to hear, enough to curl the tongs of some curling tongs no doubt. I wasn't bothered in the slightest as I don't get offended by material, I generally just get annoyed if its offensive through laziness. Bailey however is clever, funny and impressively relaxed with his audience. It must take great skill and indeed bravery to get into quite as much repartee with the audience as Bailey did with the front two rows. It was rude and constantly witty and quite successfully set the bar very high for the main event.

With all the barriers broken down, Katherine Ryan didn't feel quite as offensive as she might have done without Mr Bailey and even now I feel this is very beneficial to the act. Katherine Ryan's comedy is acerbic and often very cruel, a pretty much self confessed Joan Rivers style, but perhaps worse. Her ruthless tearing apart of the likes of Cheryl Tweedy/{insert current surname} was wicked in the extreme, but constantly very funny and from much of the audiences reactions, very appreciated. As was I think the Peter Andre material, although I felt much of the cruelest material in that was aimed at a certain Katie Price, which is also fine.

The third of the main celebrity targets was Bill Cosby and this provided much of the darkest material of the night. It takes skill and intelligence to take subjects like this and place them into a comedy act, and Miss Ryan is not left wanting in this regard.

The Kathbum of the title is her family nickname and comes into prominence towards the end where for a second you might think a bit of personal material might be less biting. However not, the tone remains for the show and that makes the show more and more funny. The conclusion is interestingly familiar to that of Ed Bynne with the personal aspect (is this a modern pattern or a coincidence?), however it leaves us with a warm feeling despite all the bitter twisted (and exceptionally funny) cruelty before it.

Kathbum is an evening of high entertainment from a confident and clear performer, which as long as you are happy to be offended in every way, you should find wonderful entertainment from. I gave Ed Byrne ««««½, but I feel Kathbum was better, so this is not leaving me many places to go, unlike Katherine Ryan who is touring to many locations until June. Seek her out.

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Performance reviewed: Saturday 27th February, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Katherine Ryan: Kathbum was performed at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate) on Saturday 27th February, 2016 only but is on a tour until June. Website for details: http://www.katherineryan.co.uk/

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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