Culture

Ania Magliano review – skilled off-key laughs from affable rising star

Absolutely No Worries If Not is Ania Magliano’s coming-out show. After an imagined heroic bisexuality reveal to her parents didn’t quite go to plan, she has a second chance to unveil her true self to the assembled audience.

Magliano takes us on her journey of self-discovery via engaging stories about her Polish mum’s take on British idioms, bisexuality, personality quizzes, the sinister intensity of Lush stores, all-girl schools, a sex party that goes awry, panic attacks, and buying a cat off Gumtree because she was “terrified of being alone”.

This is the 24-year-old’s debut hour, but she delivers it with the charisma and presence of a veteran performer – a few late arrivals to this performance are handled with ease and she breezes through the show like an affable friend bringing you into her confidence.

Magliano brings a new perspective on well-worn topics. She tells us she’s glad her parents got divorced when she was in primary school, as it brought her step-dad into her life: “I don’t think there’s any other way we could’ve met”, she deadpans. On her experience of all-girl school: “The only spaces I’m prepared for are toilets and prison.” And on buying a cat after sleeping with an ex: “I don’t know if anyone’s had sex that was so emotionally confusing they bought a live animal?” Her delivery and off-key punchlines pack laughs into every anecdote.

Woven among the more classic standup sections, Magliano drifts into the surreal. A hugely enjoyable diversion starts with Magliano wondering where all the horse girls from her school ended up – after all, you rarely see horse women – and ends with a CGI part-horse Timothée Chalamet bringing the horse-girl saga to cinema screens.

In a section that will be deeply relatable to most twenty- and thirtysomething women, Magliano wonders what impact Jacqueline Wilson’s darker children’s books have had on her psyche. The audience helps draft our own tragic Wilson blurb. She paints a compelling picture of the quest to be interesting that many people find themselves on as they approach a quarter-century. An impressive debut from a rising star of UK standup.

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