The problem with being a legendary performer is the endless pressure to live up to your own hype. This can be a challenge for even the most seasoned performers, and indeed can make for turbulent skies for even the most adept pilots to fly through.
This means that when watching the one and only Pam Ann live in her Queen of the Sky show, I was privileged to see a master at work, though I was left a little sad that she faced some turbulence on the first night of her show.
In her new show, Pam Ann sparkles as the acerbic air hostess with a great deal to tell. Indeed, as a fan of her previous work, I found myself encountering familiar jokes that had been tweaked and presented with references to pop culture that kept them feeling current and vital.
It is a rare comic who can blend the familiar with the modern so impressively. It shows that the now 46-year old performer is committed to keeping her show fresh and interesting for both new travellers and frequent flyers alike.
I might even be so daring as to say that the newer material helped to secure this sky-maven with a whole new following if the response from the audience was anything to go by. However, while I did love the show, there were a couple of unusual points which did leave the experience wanting.
Visiting the Leicester Square Theatre at the start of her new tour is a privilege for any fan. As a fan of Pam Ann I was looking forward to the chance to catch her live – and before anyone else.
There were some occasions during the show, however, where it didn’t feel like she was giving us her best work. These were not down to the performer herself so much as the distractions from the audience that beset her from the moment the curtain lifted. These caused her to often lose her train of thought and need to repeat the start of some of her stories.
It’s hard to blame her for this, and indeed it is to be expected due to the improvised nature of a live show, but it did leave me a little disappointed. To paraphrase Pam Ann herself, it was like getting into first class only to find that the champagne had run out. Perhaps checking out the show later into its run – when Pam Ann had settled in a bit – would have been a better option for this eager fan.
Aside from these occasional distractions, which resulted in a shaky start in her first act, she recovered beautifully during the second half of the show. This, along with some cunning audio-visual work, showed that Pam Ann still has a certain je ne sais quois which will resonate with old fans and new.
There were some things that did not make an appearance. The controversial character of Lilly, for instance, who has been a mainstay to the comedienne’s repertoire, was notably absent and a new puppet-based character made a brief and almost totally forgettable debut – a lost opportunity, perhaps.
That said, there was still plenty to keep the audience rolling in the aisles, including an unexpected audio-visual display featuring Downton Abbey and Pam Ann which was rude, crude and insulting. In short, it was pure genius.
Thanks to the improvised nature of the show, you could go see it for every night and get something totally different, and sadly in our case distractions from the audience unsettled a clearly excellent performer from really hitting every single note. But we did still enjoy ourselves a lot and Pam Ann is definitely a great night out for anyone who is in the mood for filthy, dark humour.
Book your tickets while you still can, before this diva flies off.
If you want a taste of Pam Ann then don’t forget to read our interview with the Queen of the Sky herself.