Amazon UK TV review: Jessie Cave: I Loved Her
James R | On 03, Feb 2021
“You know the three dots on your phone texting you back? Well, I like to give them names.” That’s the sound of Jessie Cave welcoming us into her world in her unique stand-up special, I Loved Her.
The special, which she performed at the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2015, was recorded exclusively for Soho Theatre’s on-demand comedy collection – and is now streaming with Amazon Prime, thanks to a partnership between the two platforms. Several years later, the hour-long slice of hysterics (in all senses of the word) remains no less distinctive, odd and hilarious. The show is ostensibly about Cave’s unusual personal life, explaining how she had a one-night stand with fellow comic Alfie Brown 18 months prior and, after discovering she was pregnant, decided to make a go of it. As she stands in front of us, they’re in a relationship, Catastrophe-style, and have a nine-month-old boy.
But what appears to be an observational account of parenthood and romance grows into something much richer, and weirder, as Cave lays bare her neuroses, insecurities and fantasies with a remarkably candid air. The whole thing is presented as a heightened take on Cave’s own personality, with her detailing such obsessions as the dots in messaging apps and her urge to run into the middle of a field and take a profile picture every time she passes a patch of green pasture. It’s an unflinching dissection of anxiety and intimacy in our digital, social media-driven age, and the special roots itself in questions about how we present ourselves and how others perceive us.
It’s not just what she does, though, but the way she does it: all of these ideas swirl in a perfect storm of imagination and ingenuity, as Cave segues from whip-smart one-liners to increasingly bizarre forms. First, she reveals a cardboard cut-out of her boyfriend’s end and starts to perform imaginary conversations with it, then she charts her barely concealed jealousies through the medium of shadow puppetry.
It’s as boldly conceived as it is sharply carved, and while its DIY kitsch might sound like one quirk too far, Cave’s stage presence is irrepressible; she steamrolls through dreams of a wedding and needy confessions with a magnetic energy, all brightly coloured clothes and plaited pigtails. She’s at once endearingly naive and scathingly cynical, wonderfully warm and gob-smackingly dark. You won’t be able to stop watching.
Soho Theatre Live: Season 1 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.