In recent years, multiple female stand up comedians have finally been given the opportunities that were usual saved for their male counterparts and have been able to lead (and often create) their own TV shows.
This time, the honour falls to Katherine Ryan, the constantly funny guest on many panel shows and a strong stand up-comedian. However, despite her obvious talents, her writing really seems to lack the nuance and balance between drama and comedy that someone like Aisling Bea managed so perfectly in ‘This Way Up’.
‘The Duchess’ isn’t a dreadful show, and as proven by the fact that it has been the number one title on Netflix UK since it dropped, is exactly the sort of show that usually is huge on the streaming service.
However, my issue with it is that no characters or plot ever feel real or organic, and many of the lines of there to simply try and shock the audience. Instead of telling a real narrative or earning jokes, it often feels like a sketch show or a fully scripted stand up routine for Ryan.
There is a compelling story that could’ve been dug into more (one I know is close to Ryan’s real experience) and that is the unique bond between a single mother and her only child, and how that dynamic changes as the child ages. Katy Byrne plays Katherine’s daughter here and she is very likeable, and this is where the story should’ve really focused if it wanted to succeed.
Another issue is that Katherine Ryan, despite being a great comedian, just isn’t a natural actress and therefore many of her lines feel like she’s delivering a script, as opposed to a real person naturally talking.
The show does have some very funny moments though and Ryan gets her chance to shine, especially in the alleyway sequence where Katherine and her ex are struggling to have sex again, and also in the schoolyard scene where she reveals her own nude photos just to spite another mum.
I was looking forward to this show and wish it was better, but I think many people will still find lots to enjoy in this unapologetic comedy.
Rating = 2.5/5