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Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult review

| Comedy | 28/02/2018


Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Pritchard-McLean uses this hilarious, frank and thoughtful show to deliver an important call to arms.

Kiri Pritchard-McLean is a creative whirlwind, the driving force behind the brilliant Gein’s Family Giftshop, All Killa No Filla podcast, Amusical cabaret events and Suspiciously Cheap Comedy nights.  And in her second hour-long solo show, she proves herself to be an extremely impressive stand-up, as adept at handling heavy subject matters as she is unleashing punchy lines laced with Northern mischief.

Appropriate Adult deals with Pritchard-McLean’s rocky 2017 that “changed everything” when she split from her partner and had to shelve plans to adopt and start a family.  Understandably, she was hit hard by the break-up and initially unsure whether to discuss it onstage.  But, having chosen to do so, Pritchard-McLean handles it thoughtfully and without malice, concluding each display of vulnerability with a killer line.

Her response to the ‘new normal’ included losing weight (which, she says, may have betrayed the “sisterhood”) and volunteering to mentor a vulnerable teenager.  That teenager becomes the focus both of the show and Pritchard-McLean’s frustrated (for now) maternal aspirations, drawing gentle mockery but – more often – genuine affection and concern.  As her increasingly dark tale plays out, we’re reminded that not all interventions end happily but things would be worse without the actions of well-meaning people.  Reinforcing this, Pritchard-McLean uses her platform as a call to arms for ordinary people to do more – even if just an hour a week – to help others less fortunate than themselves.

It’d be easy for a show of this nature to veer into the realms of virtue signalling.  But Pritchard-McLean avoids this by laying bare her own flaws with such side-splitting candour, whether flippantly wishing for her mentee to be afflicted by something interesting (“Fingers crossed for self-harm!”) or putting her plans to adopt down to smugness (“Just so I can say: ‘We don’t need our children to look like us for us to love them”).

And she persuasively paints a picture of where this desire to help comes from, movingly recounting her parents scrimping and saving to send her to a decent school, and subsequent poverty at university that saw Pritchard-McLean nearly sell some ova so she could afford to eat.  “Because of my background, I’m obsessed with money,” she explains.  “But I don’t hate those have it.  I just want to help other people get it too.”

It’s also far from a ‘single issue’ show, regularly detouring off into hilarious routines on feminism, racism, Mooncups and the perils of going clubbing “with a BMI of 32”.  Against this backdrop, it’s impossible to be cynical about Pritchard-McLean’s message; even more so given the positive energy she projects, with pace and delivery every bit as dazzling as her green sequinned outfit.

Kiri Pritchard-McLean performed Appropriate Adult at Soho Theatre between 12th and 17th February 2018.  For upcoming shows, see Kiri’s official website and follow her on Twitter @kiripritchardmc.  Image courtesy of Kayla Wren.

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