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Pam Ann


 Flying High

Vaudeville Theatre


29 Sept – 10 Oct 2010






A review by James Buxton for EXTRA! EXTRA!

Nothing can prepare you for a flight on Pam Ann Airways flight 74747 at the Vaudeville Theatre. Unbuckle your seatbelt, throw your safety booklet out the window and get high off your oxygen mask, Caroline Reid is back, as the savagely funny hostess from hell, Pam Ann.

Following on from the success of her 2009 The Pam Ann Show, broadcast on the Australian Comedy Channel and a tour of Europe, Reid has teamed up with American writer/comedian, Hugh Fink to create her latest show.

The theatre is packed with dozens of Reid's die - hard fans cheering and clapping. Surrounded by the enraptured audience, I feel like a spy in their midst, fearful my lack of enthusiasm will give me away as a rookie flyer amongst these seasoned travellers, completely unprepared for what awaits. The wails of  rapture die down as the video screen on the stage displays a hilarious animation parodying airline safety booklets as passengers tumble over their seats as the plane nosedives into the ocean. Reid enters the stage carelessly wheeling a drinks trolley as the howls of enthusiasm and raucous cheers rise up again. She wears a lurid light blue PVC air hostess uniform, which tightly hugs her figure and a hat which resembles a giant blue marshmallow. The stage is the inside of a jumbo jet, complete with passenger seats, the two walls join in a V shape, adding to the perspective of being inside a plane.

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, the audience are treated to her entertainingly smutty, foul mouthed stand up as she bitches about the listlessness of flying round the world, serving drinks to people she would rather have sucked out into the sky. Reid is a sharp performer with a luggage compartment full of caustic put downs and outrageous send ups. Like all good stand ups, she works off the audience, referring to the front 2 rows as first class, sweeping imaginary curtains aside and pouring a couple some budget fizzy wine. She amusingly places the microphone next to the bottle as she pours so those in economy in the upper circle and the asylum seekers even further back can enviously look on. Reid at one point ingeniously encourages all the “queens” to get out their Grinder App, (an iPhone app which allows gay men in the local vicinity to hook up for casual sex) inviting men up to the stage to swap seats with three of her most vocal and loutish fans in the front row, who also happen to be air stewards for Quantas! It is no coincidence that many members of the audience are cabin crew for various airlines and the multitude of responses support Reid's own painfully funny depictions of living your life between airports.

By the second half, we are well on our way through the flight, but suddenly out of nowhere we are struck by some serious turbulence as unbelievably, Reid invites me on stage alongside another audience member to take a hot seat and vie for the prize of a night's stay in a hotel in Vauxhall. Under the full glare of the Vaudeville's white lights, I sit grinning, slightly embarrassed but excited in one of her uncomfortable plane seats. Reid interrogates us each to discover who is the most interesting contestant. She begins with a few seemingly innocuous questions but when she asks me what do you do? I reply: “I'm here to review your show” The audience burst out laughing. Suddenly Pam Anne sits beside me, full of complements, “I really like your shirt, you've got really beautiful hair” charming me with a bonanza of flatteries, completely ignoring the other contestant.  After discovering I review for this fine website and not The Times, she abandons her fickle flatteries and pretends to lose complete interest in me! She continues with a series of cringe worthy questions when things start to get out of hand, as she orders us each in turn to take place centre stage and remove our clothing. The first man goes before me and strips down to his chest, while Reid swipes an airport metal detector up and down his crotch, encouraging him to go further while the audience cry out for more flesh. He refuses and now it is my turn. Reluctantly I stand up and approach the eye of the storm, removing my shirt she starts sweeping my crotch with the detector bleeping. However tempting the offer of a free night in a “glamorous” hotel in Vauxhall is it cannot make me part with my trousers and I have to step back to avoid being debagged in front of the baying crowd.

Reid is a terrifically crude and consummate performer, who courts as much controversy as possible, continually dropping agonizingly cringe worthy jokes such as Al Qaeda updating their suicide mission status on Twitter. She carries the show with the same fearless gravitas as an Amazon Warrior Queen, albeit far more entertainingly vulgar. As the show is so reliant on audience participation, each night is bound to have an array of differing reactions, with the grossly funny comedienne from down under probing her new flock with her no holes barred brand of humour. Flying High is a crash course comedy that gives you a barbarous insight into the mind of cabin crew and riotously contrasts the elitist airlines with their budget competitors. Just make sure, next time you fly, you bring your own parachute!



Vaudeville Theatre
The Strand,
London, WC2

Wednesday, 29th September to Sunday, October, 10th 2010
7.30pm (Monday to Friday), 7.30pm & 9.45pm (Saturday), 5.00pm & 7.30pm (Sunday)

Box Office: 0844 579 1975






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