Comedy review: Katherine Ryan


HAILING from a Canadian town called Sarnia (insert your own CS Lewis-based joke here) Katherine Ryan is now plying her comedy trade in London. Trying to blend in and become more British has simply led her to being chatted up by "friendly" old men in Crouch End, she says. So by way of escape, she's headed north to develop the kinship she feels with the Scots who, she reckons, are bullied by a larger neighbour, just like Canadians.

"Ingratiating opening" box duly ticked, she moved on to a frustrating mix of killer lines and corny material, the best of which came straight out of her life (divorced parents; sibling rivalry; being a new, slightly confused mum).

Having been resident in the UK for around five minutes, Ryan wiped out some pretty stiff competition (including Sara Pascoe and Pippa Evans) by scooping the Nivea Funny Women Award in 2008 and is now attempting to clean up in that well-worn comedy category of "innocent looking female saying the dirtiest things". She has a striking presence and calm confidence that allows her to largely pull off that trick, but is let down by inconsistent scripting and pacing.

If you poke around YouTube long enough, you may encounter her lame Sarah Palin song and dance routine. Here, she concluded with a pointless Katy Perry spoof, mainly saved by wildly enthusiastic audience participation from a jolly New Yorker.

There is enough warped wit in the Katherine Ryan locker for her to avoid such crushing anticlimaxes in the future.