START watching Aussie stand-up comedian Claudia O’Doherty’s show Pioneer and you can’t help but think maybe it is not comedy but a high-energy motivational speech.
There’s flashing lights, hand free microphones, powerful slogans and direct messages plastered onto the projector screen; you wouldn’t be wrong to think O’Doherty is the female version of Tom Cruise in Magnolia.
Part of you wants to believe there is a serious self-help message behind the humour, simply because there’s so much robust energy pumped into the narcissistic facade presented.
Alas, it is most likely all smoke and mirrors.
The charm of the act is watching the absurdism — very awkward audience participation, acute observations, and general high impact nonsense intertwined to create a marvellous performance.
O’Doherty touches on subjects from pregnancy to Carnaby Street — albeit the ring of the word ‘Carnaby’ seems to interest her, rather than any particulate insightfulness.
She incorporates technically brilliant video projection in a dazzling combination of pre-recorded footage, which she interacts with throughout.
This is also where the title of the show Pioneer comes into play. O’Doherty claims the digital entertainment corporation have funded the whole production, and provided all the necessary projection equipment.
Read our interview with Claudia O’Doherty here
This tale of Pioneer’s involvement is presented as ambiguously as the ambiguous touching O’Doherty, at one point, claims to have had with ex-boyfriends.
Perhaps the greatest appeal — icing the cake of this wondrous piece — is the ease at which O’Doherty embraces her relatively new British surroundings.
While making the odd references to the differences between Australian and English eccentricities, the show is mostly free of any stark Australianness.
She is not a ‘blow in’ left behind after Edinburgh Fringe. She has been living among us expats for around a year, so you know she’s legit.
In this regard Claudia O’Doherty’s comedy holds its own on the world stage of surrealist comedy.
Claudia O’Doherty: Pioneer is on at Soho Theatre until Sat 5 October. Soho Theatre is offering a steal of a deal on Claudia’s shows for Aussie Times readers to Monday and Tuesday’s shows. Use the code Pioneer5 when booking online at sohotheatre.com/whats-on/claudia-odoherty-pioneer for £5 tickets.