Gay Furnish, the character creation of Charlotte McDougall, is a flirt coach and sexologist, here to solve our problems and elevate us to her levels of confidence and charisma. The character is presented as obnoxious, with an over-inflated sense of self. Dressed in deliberately tarty attire, she pays her audience members harsh back-handed compliments, airs her cliched opinions, and is crudely frank about her sex life (or apparent lack of).
With a number of these types of high profile 'gurus' doing the rounds of tabloid, magazine and TV media, this is relatively topical and would seem to be a good comedy vehicle. She is joined on stage throughout the show by Chad, her bowtie-wearing, piano-playing accomplice, who sits quietly in the corner and toward the ends breaks his silence with a sweet little song.
There is a fair bit of audience participation in this piece, for which this audience was more than reluctant. I was glad to be well sandwiched in to the middle of the second row, safe from the prospect of being pulled up on stage (which in this instance involved, amongst other things, one guy having to improvise a tap dance and another to recite mantras with one hand on his crotch). During and presumably for the purpose of these sections, there were several piercingly bright lights shining directly at us. My seat got the full brunt of one of these, interrogation style, which was far from pleasant.
The Gay Furnish character is supposed to be the kind who makes everyone squirmingly uncomfortable, whilst believing she has a magnetic personality. And Gay is not the only role McDougall brings us. The second is a be-glittered musical theatre diva, who is defiantly open about her ageing, but carries the same obnoxiousness and explicitness as Furnish.
Charlotte McDougall is an accomplished actor and writer and has an impressive and extensive list of credits to her name. So, it's really very surprising that this show just doesn't seem to work. There was a noticeable lack of laughter from the audience, the script I felt was weak, and the characters are over-the-top caricatures. For me it was an uncomfortable hour - not in the edgy-comedy way I think it was meant to be, and not just because I had a bright light shining in my eyes.