Home » Reviews » Off West End » Camden Fringe: Suzanna Gonzo: Dark Lady, Etcetera Theatre

Camden Fringe: Suzanna Gonzo: Dark Lady, Etcetera Theatre


Part of the Camden Fringe 2013 
Written and performed by Katie O’Brien
★★★★★

Pros: Wrong on so many levels it’s beyond right.

Cons: If it’s not your thing, then it’s really not your thing. Just try and make it so.

Our Verdict: This woman is either destined for the big time in a big way or on her way to becoming a cult favourite.

Courtesy of facebook.com

Katie O’Brien may not sell out venues. Her type of comedy may not be to everyone’s tastes. I, however, will review her according to my tastes and sensibilities, which is why I award her five stars. In fact, if my editor would allow it I would give her six.

The Texan ex-cruise ship singer who finds a new calling as a spiritual singing healer invites us all to ‘Reveal and Heal’. Most people, including myself, would baulk at the idea. This is different however. Suzanna is not a cliché. She has experienced childhood cruelty and death and as such is able to alter the mood of the performance at a whim. There are times when the evening ceases to be funny and changes to sombre and sad. Therein lays the genius: a comic creation with wisdom and insight. Who knew?!

The character of Suzanna Gonzo succeeds where many other comic creations fail. Her creator, Katie O’Brien, has a lifetime of experience to draw from and can spin a good yarn, mixing elements of the Absurd and mime artistry. Admittedly however, Suzanna is just plain hilarious. Yes, she is crude and as subtle as a ton of bricks, but she will charm the pants of you. Clearly a character destined for the spotlight, Ms Gonzo never takes herself too seriously and provides endless amusement, juggling her performance along with dealing with her lighting and sound guy, who almost becomes a second character in the show.

In order to work, shows like this require an extensive amount of energy from the audience. We have to share with Suzanna our unabashed laughter, our moments of embarrassment; we have to be scared she will call us up on stage and make us share stories and sing and dance. The only bad thing is that not many people will get to see her performance. On the night I went to see it there were only two people in the audience: one loud reviewer with one loud friend, both of us lapping it up.

We need to cultivate performers such as these, as they are very rare. I admire both Ms O’Brien’s bravery and balls. This show is beyond twisted and side-splittingly funny. This is so wrong and right and clearly not for everyone. It is a comic creation borne out of the darkest depths of comic hell and tantamount to a work of genius.

I can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s on late at night in a small room above a well stocked Camden High Street Pub. Neck a few vodkas, lagers, whatever your poison and get on board. Suzanna Gonzo’s cruise ship is about to set sail.

Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project! 

Suzanna Gonzo: Dark Lady is running at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden Fringe until 24th August 2013.
Box office: 020 7482 4857 or book online at

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Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.