Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Some of the adulation is warranted, but not all

Actress-turned-comedian Martinez has cerebral palsy, and urges us not to patronise her. But inevitably we do, and she benefits from it.

Martinez is naturally spot on target when ridiculing people's misconceptions of her condition and of "disability" in general. She can be rather overtly didactic, but is smilingly engaging with it. Stand-up material alternates with (to be honest, clumsily introduced) sketches.

But there's also an element to this show of having her cake and eating it. Obviously her life informs her material, but I suspect it also makes us readier to overlook the clunkiness of her set's structure, the unevenness of tone and the outright arrogance of her sidekick Markus Birdman. In short, not only do we make the kind of allowances she ostensibly spurns, but to a certain extent (and I emphasise only to a certain extent) the show anticipates and assumes that we will.

She's a promising comic, to be sure, but the adulatory attention she's been getting seems to be at least in part an example of the kind of patronisation she rails against; we are, perhaps unconsciously, saying, "She's very good, considering..." Well, she is good, but she can and no doubt will be better.

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