Megan Stalter at Soho Theatre – Review – ★★★★
An anarchic hour of comedy from Megan Stalter, daring her audience to love her or leave her.
Soho Theatre’s main space was sold out for the first night of US comedian Megan Stalter’s UK debut run. For fans of her work in online videos, the chance to see Stalter live appears to be something of a cathartic experience – uproarious laughter greets every petulant outburst, uttered aside or sarcastic side-eye.
For those new to all things Stalter, a period of adjustment is necessary. Yes, she did just emerge on to the stage singing in the style of someone who might be the joke act on the X factor. Yes, she did just kick her accompanist/ex off the stage and into the sixth row. Yes, she did just do the whole first five minutes of the show again.
Stalter is almost certainly an acquired taste, and some of the first night audience leave unconvinced. But for the rest, this is an hour of rough and ready, anything-might-happen comedy. It’s hard to identify a clear narrative, but the sense that Stalter isn’t quite in control gives the whole thing a frisson of danger. A second viewing would either reaffirm this, or prove that she’s rehearsed the ad-libs to perfection.
Go for the edginess, and the elation of wondering if it might all go wrong. Stay for the energy, the commitment, and the confidence to challenge the audience: go big, or go home.