Loretta Maine:Bipolar Just The Tonic at The Caves 6pm until August 26th


Taking to the stage the trailer trash country and western Courtney Love is resplendent in her raggedy, deshabille style. All black panda eyes, dragged through a hedge several times hair, and an expression which somehow incorporates a smile, grimace, scowl, sneer and stare all at the same time Pippa Evans’s alter ego makes a commanding stage presence. Accompanied by her band, Penis Envy, Maine launches into her opening number Bipolar withgusto andverve offering it up as a statement of intent. It is an impressive opening and as one of my favourite acts from the Fringe in 2010 all bodes well, on initial inspection, for this show.

Unfortunately the show does not maintain this momentum and is nowhere as nearly coherent as her last offering. It is still highly entertaining nevertheless and Evans knows how to hold the audience in her enthral. Usually by scaring the shit out of them but at other times by simply having a commanding stage presence and it is her presence which this show hinges on as occasionally her material does not meet the high bar she has set herself.

The usual subjects are grist for the mill however and these include her drinking, family issues, failed relationships and of course being bipolar which Maine suffered from long before it became trendy in celebrity circles. It is perhaps because she is treading water from her last show here that the material does not measure up as it has not evolved. Not that the trailer trash diva she is portraying was ever likely to evolve and those seeing her act for the first time can hardly fail to be impressed. Unfortunately anyone who saw her act before may be a little disappointed-as I was- as it seems a little tired in format. Loretta is still the same cheap white wine swilling foul mouthed vixen she always was but I can’t help feeling Evans could have dome more with the character rather than allow her to fall into cliché and repetition.

The songs are great however and ,as before, brilliantly titled’ ‘I am Sixteen if You Want Me to be’ and ‘White Wine Witches’ are just two such titles and a dance track about Barbie was a  welcome addition to the show. Evans has created a great character in Loretta Maine and if you have not seen her before then I recommend you catch the act. If you have seen her before then it is highly probable that you may be let down by this years model.


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