Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted: A Review

Bunbury Magazine – ⭐⭐

As Sian Clarke is running late for the show, the audience is treated to an appearance by Strange Johnson, former Judas Preist roadie and current vape shop owner, launching his new book, memoirs of life on the road.

Johnson takes full advantage of his moment in the limelight, regaling the audience with extracts from his memoirs which touch the edges of self-indulgence. This is man who has spent a life working for those in the spotlight and almost does not know how to handle it when he is under its glare himself.

Jimmy Slim, as Johnson, brings an eclectic mix to the stage – physical and anecdotal comedy which pushes at the boundaries, challenging the concepts of what comedy can be. The material is well-crafted and delivered, a structure to the half which shows how carefully thought through every aspect is. The self-indulgence of Johnson is flipped on its head at the climax and everything slots together very well.

When Sian turns up for the show, there is a whole new energy on the stage, a dark, brooding energy which is unapologetically hard-line. This performance is about what it is still like to be a woman in today’s society, how toxic masculinity still needs to be stood up to.

The narrative is about how Sian was patronised by a man who came round to do some work on her house. The show is a response to this man, and to everyone that has ever harassed, cat-called, patronised a woman – a performance which takes the audience into some very sinister corners, causing a tension and an uncomfortableness which is a perfect reflection of the issues. The rhetoric which rumbles on very level of this show is a powerful one indeed.

This is a show that needs to be seen – there is a lot I did not want to reveal in this review as I did not want to take away from its impact. Just believe me on this – it needs to be seen.

Written by Christopher Moriarty.

Sian Clarke and Jimmy Slim – Bitter and Twisted

Heroes @ The Hive, 1640

Part of the Heroes Festival (£5 advance, PWYW on the door)

9th – 26th August

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