Arts Review: Eleanor Conway – Walk of Shame


 Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2017- Liberté, March 18

Aptly named ‘Walk of Shame’, Eleanor Conway delivers all of the associated sensations of that experience in her debut comedy performance, as part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Unapologetic and often abrasive, she delivers a feeling of self-awareness, reflection and discomfort throughout the show. Held in the basement of Liberté, a venue where a gin and tonic will take a fiver out of your pocket, the performance feels intimate and special due to the close confines of the candle lit room. While not an unpleasant space, it means that when a joke falls flat, discomfort becomes certainly palpable.

Conway depends upon her audience and it can’t help to be questioned if there is a use of alienation techniques; whether she displaces her audience from the norm through the description of her own life, defiant of stereotypes. For this very reason, parts of the show feels uncomfortable and almost embarrassing. Perhaps her dependency on the audience and their reactions weakens her performance overall. For a string of jokes that are part of a description of her experiences in Asia with her cocaine dealer ex-boyfriend, Conway relies upon photographs. Unfortunately the majority of audience is not able to partake as the screen in the venue is simply tiny. However, missing those gags may not have been too unfortunate, as they seemed to only be along the lines of, ‘I’m the only white person in these photographs’ and that was all.

In this performance, Conway seems to be put off by a lack of reaction; either that there simply aren’t enough laughs or that the audience is perhaps older than she had anticipated. Overall, there is a mark of promise in the show, however, in this case, the comedy of it seemed to be overshadowed by discomfort.

[Grace Michael]

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