Likeable and laidback, Petts saunters onto stage taking ownership of her audience – and then, like an angry boss, proceeds to charmingly neg them – demographic by delighted demographic.
She’s an angry person, it turns out, with an explosion waiting in the wings for a chance to release its pressure valve. These deftly crafted insults are the affectionate flirting and pulling pigtails that softens hearts and shows off an awareness of exactly who she has attracted into the room. These are her people, that she gladly walks up into to find out more about and call an idiot. They are also the prelude to a gentle exploration into Pett’s relationship with her anger, side-stepping any great amount of navel-gazing but looking instead at the value of being able to safely let that valve go without finding yourself in deep water.
Petts is charming to the point of it being a punchline she uses, but that doesn’t make it any less true. She’s a safe pair of hands that keeps you on your toes, turning explanations of schooling methods and such from her generation into humorously patronising older audience members. The underlying anger that she refers to comes across as being goodnaturedly grumpy on stage, but no less a real issue off of it. Tales of therapy and a nightbus confrontation show a less breezy side, still maintaining the confident rhythm of punchlines and eloquent stagecraft that elevate the evening.
Football has been a godsend to Petts for the comradery and uncomplicated release of it all, as well as the love of the game. This is her show for her Angry Football Fan demographic, that reaches us all.
Chloe Petts: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Above, 17:20/18:40, 4-27 August 2023 (except 14th)