Review: Mae Martin: Mae Day – The Caves, Edinburgh.
Mae Martin is convinced the world is going to end in December. Perching one foot on a stool for “confidence”, a touch of mania can be detected behind her elfin features as she surveys the room. In order to come to terms with the impending apocalypse, Martin has written some songs about it. The end of days forms a loose backdrop to Mae Day, a breezy, quirky musical comedy show.
The best songs, however, are not about the day of reckoning. Martin blends delightful observation with rapier sharp quips as she strums her acoustic guitar. The dubious experience of celebrating a birthday at work becomes an hilarious account of social rejection, while an obsessive dedication to a former school teacher may strike a guilty chord with those who have had comparable experiences.
The filler sections between songs are similarly enjoyable. An impression of Julia Roberts “in every film she’s ever been in” goes down a storm with the crowd, Martin collapsing to the floor in a fit of hysterical laughter. The three phrases a foreigner must learn to fit in with the British is also perfectly executed, the comedian displaying a gift for impersonation that provides a nice balance to the show.
Behind the kooky, innocent exterior lies a “supergay” performer. The aforementioned schoolteacher song is the culmination of Martin’s Sapphic musings, but not before the act of lesbian sex has been memorably compared to vegetables. Though it would probably be best to let Mae handle the explanation, the piece is received as a triumph by an appreciative crowd. A closing tune about actor Don Cheadle turns into a bizarre orgy, slightly distracting when there are also pictures of the man being passed round the audience.
While the mischievous intensity of the show rarely lets up, some sections of the performance are guilty of dulling the impact. A lengthy discussion of teenage angst and latching onto a teenage counsellor is slightly overplayed, the material being a touch too familiar to raise any substantial amusement.
That being said, Mae Dae is a late afternoon joyful treat criminally hidden away in the sauna-like conditions of The Caves. Martin is bubbly and sweet, yet gleefully plays on the touch of neuroticism shadowing her comedy to provide a thoroughly entertaining hour. Particularly recommended for fans of Don Cheadle.
Date of live review: Saturday 25th August 2012.