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Review: Cal Wilson – Things I’ve Never Said

Cal Wilson’s show in the MICF this year is about ‘Things I’ve Never Said’, or, all things she’s never focused on in her comedy. For Wilson, this means a focus on politics and feminism. Wilson flourishes on the topic, deploying a white hot commentary on sex, gender and equality. Throughout a series of anecdotal pieces which include her prejudice about playing to a room full of male mine workers; what it means to be a mother; what happened when her son wore pink sparkly face paint, and being physically dominated by men or boys, as a woman or a girl, Wilson constructs a framework exploring very serious subject matter. Not one, you might think, for a comedy show.

This is where the highly experienced comedian demonstrates, lightly, almost effortlessly, her genius. Wilson navigates her sadder pieces with grace, perfectly balanced between sad and happy, finding positive elements in each story, but also finding ways to tickle her audience into a state of emotional abandon, caught between the jagged truths of our current society, and a perspective delivered in caring humour which gives us the strength to face these fears head on.

I might compare Wilson’s show to the Bogart in Harry Potter. The Bogart is a magical creature, which hides in cupboards and under beds, which when you look at it, it takes on the facade of your greatest fear, like a perverted Chameleon. The only way to fight the Bogart is to cast a spell which turns that great fear into something ridiculous and stupid, to see it from a perspective which reminds you of your own power, in the snapping towel edge between fear and laughter.

Aside from the more serious parts of her show, Wilson’s laughs are generally extremely warm and kind, which makes the times when she diverts into a dirty joke or a naughtier story even more enjoyable. The things she does with language are intelligent and mercilessly funny, and I nearly cried with laughter many times throughout.

Wilson is a complete professional. I’ve seen a lot of live stand up, and she has just got it. She never failed in her delivery, which I found incredible given the speed at which she speaks and moves, cramming into an hour slot what most comics would only be able to fit into an hour and a half. She knows how to take care of her audience, too, and her interactions are always witty without picking on anyone when she does talk with the crowd. I would love for you to go and see this show. Cal Wilson is playing at the Swiss Club until the 23rd of April.

Written by Jim Thomas