“Wasp In A Cardigan” is an hour-long show which features the many weird characters of Joanna Neary. There is a loose plot to the show, but in reality each character performance and musical number is more nonsensical than the last.
The show also features Joanna Neary as herself, no character. This is something she admits she feels slightly uncomfortable with, as she uses the characters to make people laugh without having the attention on herself. Although it is a part of her show that she may want to continue with in future, she is a naturally funny person herself when she’s not in character.. Also, it helps to give a bit of context to what is going on in the show and the motivations behind each part. “Wasp In A Cardigan” is perfectly, wonderfully mental even with the commentary and explanations. Going through the whole show without that would still be entertaining, but it would be much more confusing, you’d even be forgiven for thinking you had dreamt the whole thing.
As she discusses in her show, character comedy is not as mainstream as it used to be in the UK. The comedy that gets airtime is almost exclusively standup, it could be social commentary about the need for diversifying the art forms that are broadcast to the world, or venting from a character comedian about a lack of screen time. If it is the latter, Joanna Neary is right to hold a grudge, as her character routines are as funny as a standup routine that would be good enough for broadcasting.
“Wasp In A Cardigan” is a very unique and tremendously funny one-woman show. It is a great achievement for any show that only has one person in it to be able to stay fresh and inventive throughout. Although, it’s not technically a one-woman show, as Joanna Neary introduces her audience to many strange people over the course of the show.
Joanna Neary: Wasp In A Cardigan, 12:00, The Stand, August 14-28 (excluding 15).