Show: Izzy Mant: Polite Club
Venue: Underbelly Bristo Square
Star rating: ***
Reviewer: Rachel-Anne Clarke
Izzy Mant is a TV producer and ex-theatre director, so it’s no surprise that her show is well produced and well packaged. It’s an interesting and relatively relatable start to the show as Mant regales us with a meeting she had with a career coach who tells her she has a politeness addiction and that it is detrimental to her career. It’s a nice anecdote and insight into her world which makes for a good opener – but Polite Club is more than just Mant’s own stories, it’s peppered with well-placed dance routines and video diaries of people who have been embarrassingly polite to the point of their own detriment.
None of these, however, are as unsettling as Izzy’s own self-proclaimed ‘rock bottom’ moment which she describes to us: eating a croissant in the toilet whilst crying. The lead up to this event we later find out to be centred around her then boyfriend who Mant describes as ‘brilliant but difficult’. This is, as we have come to expect from her, very polite. She refers to said ex-boyfriend as George and it feels like there is going to be a powerful shift in narrative when he comes into the equation, but the show remains painfully on brand as Mant politely describes his mind games and ‘crazy jealousy’, continuing the debate as to whether or not George is being a dickhead. It feels understated and uncomfortable as Mant’s portrayal of what sounds like a toxic relationship comes off as blasé.
It’s a promising debut hour that falls short of delivering what’s on offer. There is an elephant in the room that needs addressed and the elephant is George. We do get some pay off at the end as Mant presents us with her rude alter-ego, Bruce, who says what he wants without thinking, but even Bruce holds back in Polite Club and the pay off again feels understated. Furthermore the introduction of Bruce seems to reinforce the idea of conflict avoidance at a time when we want Mant herself to call a spade a spade and really let rip.
Izzy Mant: Polite Club: tickets available here
Underbelly Bristo Square
2:50pm (1 hour)