Comedy review: Luisa Omielan, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Luisa Omielan’s decision to revisit her hit 2012 show What Would Beyoncé Do? makes for a compelling if sometimes awkward experience, writes Jay Richardson

Luisa Omielan PIC: John Phillips/Getty Images
Luisa Omielan PIC: John Phillips/Getty Images

Luisa Omielan, Oran Mor, Glasgow ****

Full stand-up shows are rarely revived, as their general immediacy and topicality means a retrospective re-heat risks the material seeming horribly dated. However, Luisa Omielan's seminal 2012 debut What Would Beyoncé Do? was a breakout smash and iconic trailblazer that bears revisiting, mixed here with bits from three subsequent hours from the last decade.

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Now 39, Omielan maintains she can't throw herself into the same energetic act outs, dance moves and audience interaction she once did, though she gives it a damn good go. The charisma with which she commands a stage remains intact, fierce like Ms Knowles, or fiercer leading a defiant audience singalong of Alanis Morrissette's jilt anthem You Oughta Know, interspersed with moments in which she shares her heartbreak and suicidal thoughts.

More interestingly though, many of the issues have only become more prominent in mainstream cultural discussion. And it's fascinating to reflect on what's changed in terms of women's' rights, what has stayed the same and even regressed. Disclaiming several routines with acknowledgement of the #MeToo movement, body positivity strides and the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US for example, she largely preserves the jokes as they were, letting judgement fall where it may. This is particularly striking in her finale, where she impersonates cows in various national accents suggested by the audience, even though heightened cultural sensitivities have rendered it far more problematic.

Regardless, it's the personal aspects that makes Ten such a compelling, if often awkwardly cut and shut together hour or so. The Beyoncé material is coloured by the fact that Omielan didn't become the international star she was aiming for, while her late mother is intermittently alive and dead from routine to routine. It all adds richness and relatable, regret-tinged depth to what's essentially still an uplifting, pumped up experience that bangs hard throughout.