Comedy reviews: Diane Spencer: Exquisite Bad Taste, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14), Edinburgh

Diane Spencer's performance has a vitality that owes plenty to its edgy subject matter
Diane Spencer's performance has a vitality that owes plenty to its edgy subject matter
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THERE’S a telling message early on in Diane Spencer’s dirtily enjoyable show that serves as a disclaimer for anyone in two minds about recommending it.

Diane Spencer: Exquisite Bad Taste

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

Rating: ****

Offence, she primly admonishes prudes, simply cannot be taken because it is not being offered.

Self-serving and illogical, much like Spencer herself, this winning notion is of course predicated on the idea of a hypothetical line that should or shouldn’t be crossed. Offence is obviously in the ear of the listener and Spencer gamely straddles it like a drunk, deranged harpy, defecating in the street after the mildest provocation.

This is a show about alcoholism, about gingerism, but most gloriously of all, about female masturbation. Yes, Spencer really gets stuck into the nub of self-pleasure, with a vigour I’d suggest no male comic can match without appearing boorish and a potential sex pest. Interestingly, both she and Thom Tuck have excellent yet distinct routines about cunnilingus incorporating foodstuffs, suggesting a future PhD for a robustly-minded gender studies student.

Arcing herself, ballerina-like, to cast glitter over the front row anytime she suggests something truly gynaecological – as if spraying air freshener on a dank odour – Spencer’s show has a vitality that owes plenty to its edgy subject matter.

Yet she has the wit, imagination and light touch to elevate it beyond mere filth, to what can only be described as utter filth. Regardless of her unhinged persona, her analysis of the prejudices experienced by redheads tends to be strikingly insightful, epitomising the smart social observations sprinkled like so much glitter.

The personality split between Drunk Di and Sober Di is not an especially novel motif. Yet she affords it a Doctor Who-style element that gives it a compelling, knockabout punch whenever she shamefacedly recalls her misdemeanours. Not the least of these wince-inducing indiscretions occurs at her younger sister’s wedding, prompting an apology to savour.

• Until 26 August. Today 5pm.