Janey Godley's Soup Pot Tour
- Jay Richardson
- 9 March 2020
This article is from 2020
Scottish stand-up heavyweight with a multimedia show that lacks a potent satirical punch
Janey Godley is enjoying a career surge off the back of viral videos in which she re-voices footage of politicians and other celebrities. Such are the videos' notoriety, that she's even had Nicola Sturgeon acknowledge the accuracy of a clip in which the First Minister responds to chauvinistic condescension from Boris Johnson. Combining Godley's suffer-no-fools stand-up with the live performance of a compilation of these videos, the multimedia element is an initially compelling venture into fresh territory that nevertheless outstays its welcome.
As a mix of contemporary tech and broad humour, there's plenty to recommend the clips, with Godley cutting through the posturing of our elected officials with engaging, expletive-heavy irreverence. Surely no one could have predicted that the veteran comic might become the next Limmy. She may not have his off-the-wall distinctiveness but a skit of Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard looped with a daft, sexy refrain is as nonsensically inspired as his best stuff. And she has much more relatability and stage presence than the mercurial sketch comic.
Unfortunately, the greatest hits-style presentation, with several clips featuring 'Big' Theresa May as Prime Minister, only foreground how many of them are showing their age. The satire, such as it is, lacks topicality. And you're constantly aware of watching something 'second-hand', reinforced by Godley reflecting upon which scenes have garnered the most online traction. The cute animal clips are what they are, too many of the videos rely on the crudest insults, and there's a surfeit of them for the laughter returns not to diminish.
That's frustrating because Godley remains a quicksilver storyteller when it's just her and the microphone. Her account of facing down a fellow rail passenger who accused her of fare-dodging is superbly told, laced with invention, sardonic wit and not a little class anger. The videos demonstrate that even an act with a quarter of a century's experience can reinvent themselves and break through to new audiences. But they're also a long way from being the strongest ingredient in her soup pot.
Janey Godley's Soup Pot Tour runs until Wednesday 25 March. Seen at Grand Hall, Kilmarnock.