Hildegard Titus takes the stage at her first one-woman comedy show looking like she just answered “yes” to the show’s title: ‘Sister, Can I Do Your hair?’. Her golden goddess braids are flawless. Her form fitting outfit of choice elicits cheers of appreciation from the cocktail-sipping, draft-drinking crowd gathered at Vinyls despite the rainy evening and the show gets underway.
To begin, Titus ensures her audience that her event is a safe space unless they’re straight men before launching into a disclaimer about her Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The comedian’s ADHD is why, for the first few minutes, the show feels a little awkward and prone to lose focus.
Despite a shaky beginning, Titus quickly remembers why she’s there. And it’s to present a crowd-pleasing, raunchy and relatable show that ping-pongs from self-deprecating quips about being too broke to be an alcoholic to the more familiar and ego-obliterating experience of walking past a salon and having a customer-seeking hairstylist imply you look a hot mess.
Mining the comedy gold of Namibian hair salon experiences replete with the advice to show your significant other’s photo to everyone inside to ascertain whether your man is, in fact, community dick, Titus’ tone is strictly no-holds-barred.
After lifetimes of male comedians and comedy in general advising that women should “learn to take a joke”, Titus’ men-skewering set suggests men learn to do the same.
Merciless in her course on dating which includes chapters on red flags, male professions to avoid, what a man’s hairstyle says about his ability to illicit chest pains, why mortuaries avoid hiring men and which finally opens the issue of best and worst male star signs to the floor, Titus earns applause, guffaws and grins from the mostly women audience.
Employing PowerPoint presentations and a take-it-if-you-need-it pregnancy test, ‘Sister, Can I Do Your Hair?’ clocks in at a respectable hour and 20 minutes as it illustrates how faking orgasms lets down the collective before ratifying a sexual services rate card and shouting out Titus’ wax girl (Ingrid) and hair stylist (Judith).
At the beginning of the show, Titus describes her set as a group therapy session within a personal one and the description is apt.
While this mostly works as a format, there are sections of Titus’ offering where group discussion gets a tad out of hand to the point of general murmuring.
If Titus tightens this kind of thing up, incorporates audience comments more seamlessly and ultimately refocuses towards a solid pay-off or punchline, ‘Sister, Can I Do Your Hair?’ could be that much more epic.
Nevertheless, the show is a grand, old good time that makes the most of Titus’ deadpan storytelling while soothing feminine hurts and experiences with the kind of comedy that says: “Sister, we’ve all been there”.
So if you’re a women in your 30s (child free, unmarried or otherwise) navigating hairstyles, dating and the world at large or if you’re a straight man who can stand a great many shots being fired, Titus’ next solo is not be missed.
–firstname.lastname@example.org; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com
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