Kate Wilkinson Running On Ice

By Colin Flaherty Running On Ice

It’s unfortunate that the review night of Kate Wilkinson’s debut solo show Running On Ice was scheduled for her preview / opening performance (some shows have to bite the bullet and volunteer for an early review slot!). At the moment she has a fairly short show of solid storytelling that raises plenty of smiles but needs more work to actually find the funny.

The title comes from a Billy Joel song, explained in great detail by gushing about her love of Mr Joel’s work; a nice daggy way of endearing her to the audience. Running On Ice also explains her shaky thought processes and the slippery grasp she has on certain aspects of adult life. Kate regales us with stories of eavesdropping on stranger’s phone activities, tricks her brain plays on her just before sleep and her mother’s passive-aggressive disciplinary techniques. She also shares her thoughts on American politics and warped expectations of raising a child.

Kate certainly knows how to hold the audience’s attention and vividly illustrate her stories. An engaging storyteller, she goes into great detail with every tale which fits well with her eccentric thought processes but often comes dangerously close to excessive minutiae. These are fascinating tales which garner smiles and chuckles of recognition (especially if you are familiar with all the pop culture references). There seems to be plenty of amusing concepts scattered throughout but they currently lack strong comedic payoff. She gets her biggest laughs with the odd hilarious line which have the appearance of offhand remarks that aren’t integral to the story.

Kate has worked with the comedy / theatre group Aardvarks Anonymous for a number of years so she certainly has developed some solid stagecraft. She puts on the odd silly voice and makes some wild gestures but this embryonic script can’t be improved by such smoke, mirrors and misdirection. This solo effort is sure to develop its comedic ideas and sharpen up as the season progresses, hopefully resulting in a more hilarious show before closing night.

Running On Ice is on at Highlander Bar until April 2.

Visit the Comedy Festival Website for booking details.