Imagine Charlie Brooker, but with more musical numbers, and you go a sizeable way to picturing Vikki Stone’s comedy.
So there might be more pop culture/trash TV than current affairs and the inside story of broadcasting here, but you have the biting humour, disregard for social etiquette and lampooning of ‘stars of the screen’ familiar to viewers of Screenwipe and the like.
Stone is a comedian and musician with a somewhat odd career history, one which has taken in National Youth Music Theatre, backing vocals for Elton John and being the face of TENA, before heading for the Edinburgh Fringe with ‘Big Neon Letters’ last year.
‘Hot Mess’ reflects her mish-mash of experiences and talents; whether playing her piano and singing about Sinitta, dressing an audience member (not I, thankfully!) as Hilary Devey or indulging in some classic stand-up, Stone delivers.
She is clear in her focus from the beginning: television programmes we probably shouldn’t watch but do. There is no attempt to dress this up as something intellectual or a show with a message. Like the TV she alludes to in her routine – X-Factor, Dragons Den, Deal or No Deal, This Morning, etc – the aim is to entertain.
That she does. The show is well put-together, just as her songs are superbly crafted, but at the same time one almost feels invited into her living room to gather round the piano, play home-made Deal or No Deal and talk about past romantic encounters. In short, it is not just the fairly small venue that makes this show seem cozy.
Cozy, perhaps, but not comfortable. Stone is not one to regale that amusing anecdote involving marzipan and kittens. Oh no. She does nothing to hide her contempt for the moralising brigade, the critics appalled by her language or jolted out of their comfort zone by Stone’s tales of sexual disaster.
It is that sort of thing which gives the audience more than ‘I watched this on TV and thought this’; we get personal insights and real character sketches as well. Her song dedicated to Philip Schofield – watch the video for it online if you’re looking for a taste of her style – is perhaps the standout example of that, a song that is not only hilarious but also catchy. To my shame, I’ve been wanting Schofield to “Phil me in” for a couple of days now.
The verdict on ‘Hot Mess’ is an easy one: a brilliant show that will keep you entertained throughout. Each performance is selling out, and many of those ticket holders will find tears of laughter rolling down their cheeks.
The Observer named Vikki Stone in its top five ‘Ones to Watch’. Yes. Go watch her.
Vikki Stone: Hot Mess runs every day every day at 20.10 until 26 August at the Underbelly (Bristo Square). Tickets are priced between £9.00-£11.00.