Katia Kvinge is no ordinary comedian – she’s a relentless ball of energy, like the animal from which her show takes its name. While many others limit themselves to one or two strands of comedy; she bounces around between stand-up, characters and impressions. Not a woman to be easily pinned down, Kvinge mixes these three media with a hefty dollop of interpretive dance and just the right amount of awkward to create a hilarious and endearing hour of comedy.
Some comedians seem afraid to lay themselves bare onstage, preferring instead to hide behind imaginary anecdotes about their non-descript spouse, but Kvinge spills all about her dating disasters and her sociopathic ex. She refuses to pull her punches and keeps the audience in stitches as a result, never shying away from more confessional elements in her stand-up. Kvinge’s unashamed exploration of ill health and teenage bullying add an element of realism to what is otherwise, at times, a truly absurd experience. Her half-Norwegian, half-American heritage has given Kvinge a striking insight into life as a third-culture kid, moving between two very different countries. An experience she describes as being akin to Dorothy’s return from Oz.
The character comedy element is the most awkward part of the show, reminiscent of a certain yeast extract spread in its potential divisiveness, but is executed in such a way as to be charming rather than annoying. Kvinge’s impressions, on the other hand, are so diverse and on point that all comers are likely to find a good handful to tickle their funny bone. The “around the world in 80 accents” section of the show was also incredibly amusing. Although a few stereotypes crept in at points, Kvinge’s deft handling made sure that those doing the stereotyping were the butt of the joke rather than those being stereotyped.
Towards the end of her performance, Kvinge decided to indulge in a little light matchmaking between audience members. In spite of my current engagement, I was picked out to be paired off with a man twice my age, and asked to leave the room and not come back until we’d kissed. In true Fringe spirit, we disobeyed this request but nevertheless were game for the rest of the act. Kvinge’s face when she realised she’d picked out a reviewer to participate in her high-jinks was priceless.
I would heartily recommend Squirrel; I’m just not so sure my fiancé will agree!