Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

It’s risky for a comedian to structure her set around things she doesn’t like. Besides the danger that she inadvertently offend certain pockets of the audience, there’s a lingering threat that the show descend into self-righteous moralising.

Somehow, she managed to make the woeful state of our selfish, war-torn world a laughing matter.

Thankfully, Everything That’s Wrong with the Universe was a lot more playful and lighthearted than its title suggests. Although Gemma Arrowsmith occasionally brought her politics too close to the surface, her persona (or rather, personas) was more lively and exuberant than wry and cynical, and this helped to keep the audience firmly on her side.

Through a series of live sketches in which she displayed an impressive array of accents and impressions, Arrowsmith tackled subjects including war, the monarchy, alternative medicine and mocked the individuals who prop up humanity’s less virtuous industries.

Even I, the Fringe reviewer, did not escape her ridicule. While not personally targeted, I did have to watch as she impersonated a young, conceited writer not dissimilar from my own young, conceited self. I believe my body language became rather more passive after that point.

While the show’s themes felt repetitive at times and a couple of jokes went awry, the diversity in Arrowsmith’s performance kept it fresh and interesting throughout, and her superb rapport with the audience meant that slips of the tongue were instantly forgiven.

Somehow, she managed to make the woeful state of our selfish, war-torn world a laughing matter.

Reviews by Joshua Feldman

Marlborough Theatre

The Room in the Elephant

★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Both Worlds

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Animal Farm

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Brainchild

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

★★★★
The Dukebox Theatre

All Change

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Face it, if this universe were a school project, it would receive a C+ at most. Gemma Arrowsmith presents sketches and characters exploring the very worst humanity has to offer. A rogues’ gallery of quacks, charlatans and con artists, exploring such depths as homeopathy, plastic surgery and even shampoo adverts. “Exquisitely drawn characters” (Chortle). **** (Three Weeks). **** (The List). **** (FringeReview).