Courtney Pauroso: Vanessa 5000

Pleasance Courtyard

Courtney Pauroso: Vanessa 5000

Los Angeles-based comedian Courtney Pauroso returns to Edinburgh with a brand-new character-driven clown show. This is a demonstration of the Vanessa 5000, the latest upgrade in a long line of Vanessas, created for the pleasure of men.

The conceit of being a sex robot is a clever one, which allows for a raucous hour that touches upon our own hang-ups about sex, the male control of feminine identity, big data, industrial farming and exploitation in its many forms. However, it does this with a hubristic playfulness that the audience lap up.

Although Vanessa is “just” an advanced sex doll, it is Courtney Pauroso who is very much in charge. Commanding the space and driving the action with often fearsome skills—she shreds, twerks, draws portraits and impressively arab-springs in eight-inch heels! Sometimes, Vanessa malfunctions and we just glimpse a hint of the sadness behind one of the most advanced AI-driven love toys on the market.

Vanessa 5000 is packed with so much that little of the socially relevant stuff becomes fully resolved, but that scarcely matters in this absolutely riotous hour of well-judged comic brilliance.

Reviewer: Tony Trigwell-Jones

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