I have wanted to see Josie Long live for a long time due to her infamous political comedy but also because she is one of the most articulate, kind-hearted comics out there. Cara Josephine is her least political show for a long time and I think that may be because the message of this set is far too positive to be weighed down by the heavy nature of British politics- we can forget all that for a little while. Supported by the eccentric Tom Allen, these two supplied a superb Wednesday evening of entertainment.
Tom Allen expertly juggles being slightly sinister with being endearing, friendly and flamboyant; his delivery fluctuates between being downbeat and slow-moving, and charmingly playful. With a presence similar to that of the well-spoken stand up comedian Simon Evans, Allen showed an incredibly dark streak; a welcome contrast to the abundance of crowd-pleasing ‘safe’ comedy that has emerged in recent years. Tom showed a talent for altering the metaphorical distance between himself and his audience, as we soon began to warm to each other and he opened up more and more about his family and his childhood.
Josie and Tom were very different in their material, delivery and stage presence but I noticed one major similarity: what they say is perfected by the way in which they say it. Tom Allen’s material would not be done justice if spoken by anybody else; he has a compelling presence on stage and a very distinctive voice. In Josie’s case, she uses her delightfully childish humour to break up heavily emotional or political segments which makes for a fantastically rounded and widely accessible show.
Josie Long’s Cara Josephine is a carefully constructed work of art. She begins on the surface, talking about her recent experiences taking Maths A Level as a 32 year old because she kept having nightmares about taking Maths A Level (I know, it makes perfect sense), and gradually getting more and more intimate until we reach the crux of the show: issues regarding our own self worth. I had heard that this was Josie’s most personal show to date, but had not expected her to be so wonderfully open about her past loves and losses, and make it so bloody funny.
With a passion for poetry and an Oxford University education under her belt, Josie makes no effort to hide how well-read she is, and, frankly, why should she? I really appreciate the kind of comedy that values intelligence and the art of learning, and this show in particular enables audiences to learn about the woman on the stage, but also about her perception of events that happen to us all throughout our lives. This comedian talks to an extent of the difficult time she had as a teenager, and seeing where she is now, and despite only being seventeen myself, I think all of her fans feel a strange sense of pride for all that she has achieved.
This is because Josie Long is everyone’s friend. She opens herself up to her audiences, making herself vulnerable, all for the sake of her art, and I think that is something to be admired. Her comedy certainly blossoms because of it. With her infectious, bubbly personality, Josie has managed to build up consistently warm and friendly audiences which meant that the atmosphere in Wolverhampton was supportive and encouraging. This lady talks of growing old, but in my eyes she’ll be young her whole life: she has clearly learned a lot in the past few years, but hasn’t let this harden her in anyway and she remains as bright-eyed and spirited as ever.