OH BOY. I don’t think any journalistic endeavour in my career has ever been so tricky as writing a review for this foul-mouthed and filthy comedienne in a family newspaper. But here goes.
It took less than 10 minutes for the first audience members to walk out in disgust. The family of three — mum, dad and teenage daughter, who were sitting in the front row and had to walk the walk of shame with the eyes of the whole theatre on them — could not possibly have read the reviews for this one-woman show by Australian comic Caroline Reid.
It’s the kind of blue comedy that you might take a chance on with your spouse, but no one in their right mind would go with an offspring. It would just be too toe-curling for words.
“Don’t worry,” twanged Pam in her thick Aussie accent, as the three sauntered grim-faced towards the exit. “It’s going to get way more filthy.” She was right, and as obscenity piled on obscenity, several more people got up and left.
Pam Ann is Reid’s flight attendant alter ego. Dressed in a tight-fitting red uniform, with a jaunty hat perched on the side of her voluminous beehive, she boasts that her show is pure, unadulterated, un-PC filth — not for the easily offended. I’m not easily offended, nor easily shocked, but I put my notebook away after the first few minutes because not one of her gags could be reproduced verbatim.
Pam seems to be all woman, though her act is very much along the lines of a Sydney drag queen. She is apparently adored by the stars: Elton John hired her as in-flight entertainment on a private jet for his partner David Furnish’s 40th birthday, and Madonna thinks she’s the tops.
Her language is colourful to say the least. Anecdotes about in-flight lesbian clinches on Virgin Atlantic beds and the advantages of dating African-American gentlemen were laden with Anglo-Saxonisms and See-You-Next-Tuesdays. This latest show focuses on the different airlines and their foibles — Air France stewardesses are all snobby anorexic chain smokers and Emirates wash their Airbuses in Dom Pérignon. And there was a funny scene about Virgin Atlantic staff (all slappers, apparently) who had to go on a training course to teach them to whisper instead of shout.
But I feel I’m failing you, dear reader, in giving a true flavour of just how disgusting this material is. Think bottoms, members, parts of female anatomy... not in any particular order. Think of the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done on a plane then quadruple it. No, better still, think of the most outrageous thing you’ve ever thought you’d like to do on a plane in your wildest fantasy, and quadruple it. The trolly dollies and gays in the audience — of which there were many — lapped it up.
For the rest of us, though, it was shocking, outrageous, indecent, but after the first quarter of an hour, just not very funny. Pam Ann, I’m afraid to say, broke the first rule of comedy. She just didn’t have enough material, and what started out as promising ended up fizzling out like an old man whose.... well, never mind. Next time I’ll stick to Pam Ayres.