Review: Francesca Martinez: What The Fuck Is Normal?

Review: Francesca Martinez: What The Fuck Is Normal?
Date: 24/11/2018

Almost as soon as the introduction was over, Francesca Martinez wobbled onto the stage. And no, this was not nerves. In fact, it was by virtue of her condition, cerebral palsy, or as she refers to it ‘being wobbly’. A lot of the material she uses tonight also makes this condition the butt of the joke as well, which is refreshing to see and hear at a comedy set.

Martinez’s whole schtick isn’t just about this issue though, but more about the very ‘normal’, everyday situations in which we all get ourselves into almost daily: love, sex, laziness and family issues to name a few. It’s just Francesca deals with all this while remaining, well, wobbly.

This is, at heart, what the show is trying to get at. That we all deal with these situations, each in our own different ways. There are so many issues everyone faces that it really is hard to pin down what the fuck is normal.

Observational comedy, is always best when it’s told through the eyes on an outsider and, as Martinez herself says, she entered the world feeling like an outsider.

A striking diversion is Francesca’s realisation that we’re all meant to poo once a day, and yet she does it twice a day. Should she have to come out to her family, much as someone who is gay might, based on her toilet habits? It puts an interesting light on the silly things we consider normal and abnormal and the ways we treat them.

Of course the show isn’t all just laughs and jokes. The finale of the set is actually a rather beautiful poem about treating every day as if it’s your last. It seems fitting for the show to end on such a touching moment, and it really ties it all together nicely. I left the show feeling a little more cheerful about the world, and a little more fortunate.

Generally speaking this style of comedy is not revolutionary by any standard. It’s quite simple observational comedy. Observational comedy, though, is always best when it’s told through the eyes on an outsider, and as Martinez herself says throughout the she show, she entered the world feeling like an outsider.

What makes this show special is the person telling these stories. Told by another comic they may be just filler, but in the hands of this performer now have added layers of depth. It really is a treat to see Martinez perform, even if only to come out of the show with a slightly swollen heart.

Written by Jamie Tichborne

Love Liverpool?

Or just visiting? Either way we feel sure you will when you’re here. And we have a whole website dedicated to guiding you around the city, whether you want to know about food, drink, hotels, shopping or attractions.

We’ve got Liverpool covered – sign up for more on what’s on, inside information, reviews and guides to the city.