My mum is a lovely, unassuming lady, with a talent for making clothes and being nice to small children. And the sense of humour of a millennial. I took her to see The Mighty Boosh a few years back. And she took my bemused dad to see Bill Bailey. Getting her tickets to see Katherine Ryan at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for Mother’s Day was an easy decision.
The world seems to be suddenly realising that women are funny. Not only are female comedians appearing more on TV (BBC panel show quotas aside), the venue looked sold out for the evening. Katherine jokes about having in the past been the disappointing part of a mixed bill. Not any more.
Even so, there’s something about her that doesn’t conform. Even the poster is something different. Not a primary-coloured design or a photo with bug eyes and gaping mouth that always seem to be used to indicate that this is a funny woman seriously, look for this). Instead it’s watercolours with pin curls and Cupid’s bow lips. You’d be forgiven for thinking she was an opera singer. She’s not.
Katherine’s bluntness and entirely no-shit attitude towards everything is her trademark. She will call you out for what she sees as your white privilege and your self-serving feminism.
Her diatribe against Cheryl ‘gawjuss baybee’ Fernandez-Versini is a thing of legend. I can’t say I agree with her, but I have to respect her ability to sustain that level of a rant. Taylor Swift and her girl gang of obscenely attractive friends, with Lena Dunham as the token normal looking person thrown in for good measure, also get questioned.
She spouts out expletives in a huge Dior New Look-esq floral skirt. It’s everything I aspire to.
She gives as much scrutiny to her own life as she does that of others. She’s frank about her past unsuccessful relationships. And her life as a single mum to a daughter in a house with too many pets (I still laugh at the thought of the rabbit named Anthony).
Her act was fun and flowed, but felt a bit too rigid and scripted at a few points. There was a woman with the oddest laugh I’ve ever heard in the audience (as the person who normally has the loudest and most embarrassing laugh in the room she was a welcome addition), and although she became a running joke in the audience and the support act, Katherine didn’t deviate to mention it.
When she returns home for her sister’s wedding and she’s confronted with the people she left behind, asking her why she doesn’t come home and be normal, she tells them it’s not that they’re normal, it’s that they’re ordinary. Katherine is certainly not ordinary. This is only a good thing.
Honourable mention too to the Phil. I realised the last time I was in the building was for my graduation ceremony back in July 2007. It’s had a revamp since then, and while it was hardly shabby to begin with, it looks great for a scrub up, and the redecorated bar is gorgeous.