Theatre

Review: Pam Ann at Leicester Square Theatre

Queen of the skies Pam Ann returns to London for her 20th anniversary show – Touch Trolley Run To Galley – and it’s a laugh riot.

Iconic air hostess Pam Ann has earned cult status since she started on the circuit two decades ago, and her new anniversary show marks a fitting tribute to her legacy.

For those unfamiliar with her shtick, Pam Ann – the alter ego of comedian Caroline Reid – is a brash, hot mess of an Australian trolley dolly who treats her audience as if they’re passengers on board her own airline: those in the front rows are in the first class section, and are suitably rewarded as such; those at the back are in economy, and are lambasted for opting for the cheap seats.

But be warned, as a newbie to Pam, you’ll be in the minority here. Audiences are largely crammed full of superfans that seem to know every line, utterance and trick of Pam’s acerbic set. Still, it’s a gimmick that has served her well, and continues to offer a wealth of hilarious set pieces, characters and one-liners. And while there’s not much in the way of new material here, all of the classics are rolled out to rapturous applause.

There’s Lily from Singapore Airlines, who’d sacrifice passenger safety for the sake of her Gucci handbag; aging Valerie from Texas who works for American Airlines (you can imagine the fun Pam has here given recent events); Conchita Rosa María González Gómez who sings “Fanta, do you want a Fanta?” as she struts down the aisle; Susan, the horsey British Airways flight attendant… and many more.

Ultimately though, it’s Pam’s show. We’re reminded of this at the very beginning, as the night opens with a show reel of some the icon’s career highlights; two decades of clips from countless DVD releases, TV appearances and awards show. It’s quite something.

Once she’s on stage, Pam rules the roost. She expertly handles hecklers and spares nobody (not even those in “First Class”) from her verbal tongue-lashing; her mouth is filthy and she puts it to good use, picking on every creed, colour, nationality and sexual orientation you can imagine as she satirically pokes fun at the airline industry and those who travel on it.

One of the highlights is the first-half finale, where Pam becomes a judge on a parody version of the Great British Bake Off – stunningly renamed for her filthy purposes – as she ogles and gawks over one of the last series’ contestants while fellating a chocolate log.

The second half ramps things up further: there’s endless drug-taking references, smutty innuendos, and barbed assertions flung at everyone from unsuspecting audiences members to some of Pam Ann’s most recognisable cast of characters.

So, while you might want to think twice about taking your in-laws to the show, you’d be hard-pressed to find a funnier, naughtier night out for you and your pals – and if lewd, rude and crude comedians are your thing, you’ll be pleased you decided to fly with Pam Ann.

Pam Ann’s Touch Trolley Run To Galley 20th Anniversary Tour is on at the Leicester Square Theatre until 27 May before heading out across the UK. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.co.uk.

 

 

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