Nic Wright

DVD review: Miranda Hart, My What I Call Live Show

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A live comedy DVD which starts with an aerial shot of London’s O2 Arena, while – without irony – S Club 7’s saccharine turd Reach For The Stars belts out has already started off on shaky ground, to be honest. What is this nightmare?

Well, it’s Miranda Hart, and her, what she calls, live show. And it’s a good job she’s made clear from the outset that this is what she calls a live show, because it would struggle to pass for such a thing by anyone else’s standards.

A tiny figure in an enormous room, the sweeping camera angles betray the lack of intimacy the venue, but also the baffling number of willing participants in her “cocoon of fun”.

If the audience tonight have been sold on the back of Hart’s sitcom successes, they’re probably not the only ones; Hart herself comes off as uncertain in her both her performance and her material, as though thrust into an arena she’s not comfortable with for a quick buck.

One thing she does know however, is her audience. “Any straight single men in?” Tumbleweeds.  Most are sitcom fans happy to lap up the gauche, fumbling faux pas of her TV counterpart. Which is a good job, as this is exactly what they get. This, and absolutely nothing more.

Judging by the rapturous applause that greets jokes that don’t merit it, clearly there’s some gag-recycling going on. And that’s not the only thing that blurs the line between sitcom and stand-up show. Hart frequently plays up to the camera, speaking to a TV audience that isn’t there rather than her own, and grins at the camera, like a toddler that’s particularly pleased, with itself whenever she drops a one-liner. Is she in character, or are we supposed to be seeing the real Miranda here?

Despite her image as a loveable, heart-on-her-sleeve type, the show reveals almost nothing about her. Her material centers largely around awkward social encounters – embarrassing introductions, farting in front of handsome men, and attending posh parties with vicars and elderly Majors -but little about it is relatable, but even less of it feels in any way sincere. Even her improvisation feels staged, as she singles out a young man to flirt with until – shock, horror – he turns out to be a teenager.

When she’s not giving out crisps or setting up audience members on dates, Hart is orchestrating an a capella tribute to a party she recently attended; like much of the rest of the show, it’s not particularly funny, it’s just something that fills five minutes.

It becomes genuinely exhausting to watch, as she prances around shrieking at her own ineptitude, waiting for something interesting, or at least amusing, to come up. Her bits on teenagers, and musical theatre are so dated they seem almost self-parodying. Safe, dull and entirely lacking in substance, that these bits are presented with such cloying, exasperating plumminess is only the icing on the cake.

While this oafish humdrum might fly in the context of her sitcom, where she can lean on a supporting cast, scripting and editing, laid plain on stage, her shambling material and lack of direction is glaringly obvious.

Who knows, a show for its own sake might’ve drummed up something a little more substantial, but My, What I Call Live Show feels more like a cheap, hastily-churned out accompaniment to the main event.

Such fun? Afraid not.

Miranda Hart: My, What I Call, Live Show is out on DVD from Monday 17 November. Buy from Amazon for £12.

  • gulberwick

    She’s well-connected. She doesn’t even have to try.