DANISH-BORN Sandi Toksvig came to Salford and The Lowry this week. Quays News entertainment reporter Lucy McLane went along…

Toksvig; writer, broadcaster, novelist and of course comedian, came bounding on to The Lowry theatre stage looking pleasingly unshowbiz. With her comfy jeans and jumper on she appeared as though she was here for a chat rather than to entertain and this was definitely the case.

As one of the younger audience members at 22, I was worried the humour would be a bit before my time but it wasn’t and that shouldn’t have been my main concern.

After a few religious jokes, wondering if God speaks through cats and talking about insect’s genitalia, the purpose of this tour was clear it was not to simply entertain, the audience were here for business.

The former BBC Radio 4 News Quiz host has recently co-founded a new political party; The Women’s Equality Party. This is now the UK’s fastest growing new party and this is what the night was centered on. From the issues of creating the party, to Toksvig’s main aim of raising awareness of it, and unfortunately I didn’t know this would be the agenda.

A night of political fundraising and deep-thinking issues was a far cry from what I and maybe some others may have expected when coming to the theatre for an evening of comedy.

Like all events labelled with the genre comedy you expect to laugh which admittedly, that did happen. Everyone laughed a lot. So the Sandi Toksvig quick-wit and unsugar-coated humour was checked off the list with verification from the audience’s loud bellows that echoed around the theatre.

To continue with the positives, in true Toksvig fashion she made fun of things especially sport. For example, she imagines how much more entertaining sport would be if people with no skill were only allowed to compete. With this she decided to prove her point by inviting audience members to partake in the old fashioned game of Whiff Whaff, not too dissimilar to Table Tennis. With watching these ordinary people play the ‘game’, Sandi’s point was indeed proven as it was far more entertaining than sitting at home and watching the 1500m at the Olympics.

So all of this was well and good and for that I rate the comedy 5/5! But unfortunately as the second half commenced all the fun and giggles stopped and the performance became insufferable for me.

The show turned in to a preaching campaign on why you should support the Women’s Equality Party and went further of telling you how to join as there were recruits awaiting out in the foyer and I really felt trapped.

I commend Toksvig and her fight for equality. I understand how hard and costly it is to form a political party, but this feminist campaign was not what I wanted from a night of comedy, I just felt uncomfortable.

At the end of the show Sandi took to the floor and wanted her crowd to ask her questions on anything. This unfortunately wasn’t any better. To put it simply it was a bunch of feminists getting a tad aggressive and shouting out more equality questions and at this point I was ready to go. Sandi herself seemed tense that the questions were just about women’s rights – she even tried to offer out her lovely soup recipe but questions on tampon tax and period pain kept flowing in.

So those hoping for a night of laughter and easy-listening will be slightly disappointed. Preparation will be needed for a night of political preaching. Toksvig does makes compelling arguments for those who agree with them and she noticeably has conviction in this cause. But, if you’re someone intending for an easy-watching comedy to chuckle at constantly then this isn’t for you.

By Lucy McLane

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