Julia Sutherland may not be the best mum. But she reckons, with tongue only so far in cheek, that her muddling through still makes her the world’s best dad.
Julia Sutherland is World’s Best Dad | Yesbar, Glasgow | Rating ***
That’s an occasional refrain in this promising work-in-progress show, rather than an overtly feminist cri de couer.
The main source of her anxiety remains very much herself and her own failings. Insecure, on account of the number of her ex-boyfriends who turned out to be gay, and after a television career defined by its brevity, the Glaswegian delivers a clear-sighted analysis of her body issues, laziness and inverse snobbery in relatable, everyperson terms, yet never forgets to fill her routines with plentiful gags.
At the heart of her self-doubt is the judgement she attributes to other parents on her mothering, prompting her to over-compensate in disastrous fashion. Although there’s a subtextual impression of a woman seeking to express herself outside her son, he continues to define her burgeoning comedy career – suddenly freed of responsibility to gig in London, she gets carried away and embarrasses herself with a drunkenly amusing escapade.
Currently, the second half of this show feels less honed than the first. And the entertaining finale could probably be better led up to beforehand. Regardless, Sutherland has an easy affability and continues to sharpen. Ultimately, she has it in her to join the front rank of Scottish headliners, with a proper run at the Edinburgh Fringe overdue.