ONE of the hottest tickets for May is a one-woman show from a relatively unknown comedian.
Isy Suttie’s Pearl and Dave is an unlikely tale of internet romance which has been capturing hearts since she took it to the Edinburgh festival, last year.
The show is about Isy’s childhood penpal, who she met after releasing a balloon with a note requesting a penpal inside, in the hope it might reach Australia. It didn’t, it reached Dave, who lived two doors down, but the resulting friendship was the genesis of the tale of Dave and his relationship with a woman he met at Butlins and with whom he later reconnected via Facebook.
The story may be familiar to some, like it was to me, because a half-hour version was broadcast on Radio 4 earlier this year. I mention this not to prove I’ve heard it, but rather because it was recommended to me by my boyfriend. “It’s so lovely,” he texted, throwing his usual manly persona to the wind. “It made me cry a bit.” And it is, and it does, but not in a sad way, but instead because Suttie’s eye for detail and way with words is funny, charming and rather touching. The stage show also incorporates elements of Isy’s own life, and is filled with her trademark songs.
“I forgot when it was broadcast that people were actually going to listen to it other than my mates and my family,” she says when I bring this up.
“I really love doing the show. I did quite a long tour last year and this year I’m doing less venues but they’re the ones I really like.”
Suttie, now 33, was born in Hull, moved to Hertfordshire when she was two and then to Matlock when she was six, which is where she lived when she met Dave. She was involved in a lot of local amateur dramatics, and always knew that she wanted a career on the stage.
“It just seemed to come about,” she says. “I always knew I wanted to do acting and writing and music. I wrote songs from the age of 11 but they weren’t really comedy, just a bit strange. Everyone was really supportive and I realised it was nice making people laugh.”
A romance with a comedian led to Isy spending plenty of time in the clubs, before her own first attempt at standup in a pub in Greenwich. “There were about six people there, and I think they were all builders,” she says. “I was really nervous so I had four tequilas before I went on — it seemed to work.”
There was, she says, “never any question” about including a musical element to the show.
“If someone said to me ‘write a three-minute song about this subject’, I could probably do it in half an hour, whereas if someone asked me to write a minute of standup comedy about politics, I’m not sure I could,” she says.
Suttie is currently writing a pilot for a musical sitcom with her friend, and has been a regular character in Peep Show where she plays the IT support worker, Dobby, with whom David Mitchell has a tentative, awkward romance.
“They’re really lovely guys — very funny and welcoming,” she says of her co-stars Mitchell and Robert Webb. “I really like playing that character, she’s a bit more hardcore than me although we are similar in a lot of ways — I like to drink, say what I think and follow my heart.”
• Isy Suttie appears at The Lowry’s Studio Theatre, in Salford Quays, on May 27. Tickets cost £12, to book visit thelowry.com or ring 0843 208 6000.