The Rotunda Theatre, 9 May 2023
Grace Mulvey bounds on to the small stage area, seemingly fresh as a daisy and with an easy confidence that is utterly deserved. Mulvey’s sharp as a pin turn of phrase is frequently put to good use, dropping casual toppers to the material she is hammering out in this work in progress show, alongside casually fun improvised interactions. She’s our friend, our pal, our confidante, and as such we get to share her confessional in kind. With bells on.
It’s good honest fun, with Mulvey as the plucky underdog who’s crap at flirting and knows where to mine the humour from her own awkward life – a fresh seam of bottomless brunches and anatomy classes, ushering us with straw polls of comparative experience and generous curiosity.
A real highlight is a section on her personal experience as a woman, graphically leading to the boisterous hilarity of what can happen when there’s not understanding of adolescence, and a hint at what could come in middle age through the lens of a rationed-truth rumour mill. The pitfalls are universal, but the stories and perspective uniquely her own.
Not all topics are fully formed, she mutters that she hasn’t got an end sorted out yet to a few and peters off. But to be honest, when the separation between performer and viewer is so perforated as to allow follow up questions to be launched from the back row, the direction of potential section-closers don’t look too tough to discover.
There’s a good show on the horizon here in Flirt, once any baggy corners have been knocked off. The gems shine, and by contrast the merely sufficient gags can look a little dull. Mulvey has a practised friendly authority that sees time fly by in her company, and writing chops that zero in on the funny, casting vanity and all else aside in its pursuit. A bit of a blast.