If one of the definitions of post-feminism is to reclaim traditional gender roles, albeit a concept embraced by some and loathed by others, then perhaps a fresh interpretation in an unconventional body is required to express the conflicts inherent in the feminine psyche. Granted, it may not have been the puppeteer’s intention, but what better platform than the use of a theatrical space and a cloth puppet to drive a subliminal message to its audience.
Last night at the Museum of Comedy I had the pleasure of attending An Evening with Patsy May, an American-born feisty muppet-like puppet, and 2014 semi-finalist of Britain’s Got Talent, who took her audience on a 90-minute journey of word games, comedy skits, Skype calls, special guests and her obsessive love for Taylor the Latte-Boy, a young lad who served up her morning dose of caffeine at a local Starbucks.
The Patsy May act, written, directed and engineered by puppeteer and comedic actor Laura Bacon, is a brilliant economic construction that brings its audience onside from the moment the wise-cracking Patsy appears at the top of a podium demanding that we love her. She is much like a magician with a fusillade of tricks, starting with audience participation in a game of Cockney rhyming slang, then cosying up with home videos of her travels throughout London Town and famous cities across the United States. And like any brilliant warm-up comic, Patsy has a coterie of sidekicks, the most formidable the magician Jasz Vegas (BBC 3, Killer Magic) with her mesmerising magic tricks.
And returning to the idea of Patsy as a post-feminist statement, both Patsy and Jasz seem to embody the struggle of something yet to be said about myth and magic, and its place in the vapour of feminine mystic. Patsy’s longing for love, co-mingled with Jasz’s hard as nails approach of ‘Don’t fool with me, or else’ – conveyed through a tough magic act – hint at a return to an old-fashioned discourse as fresh investigation of who we are and how we take up a place as sexed human beings.
Finally, the evening could not have happened without the musical accompaniment of pianist Toby Nelms who supported Patsy throughout the tale of her life’s journey, the appearance of Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Hadfield and Patsy’s real-life Latte Boy, puppet assistant Dickie Dawes.
Review by Loretta Monaco
To find out where you might spend An Evening with Patsy May, follow Patsy on twitter @totallyPatsyMay