Review: Sophie Duker: Hag

A spiky sophomore hour

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Sophie Duker
Photo by Sarah Harry Isaacs
Published 08 Aug 2022

In 2019, Sophie Duker made her Edinburgh debut with Venus, a show about her life as a Black, pansexual woman. It earned her an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for Best Newcomer; she was the first Black woman ever to be up for the award – but now she’s back, older, wiser and mature enough to properly speak her mind. “I don’t know what your dreams are, but I know they’re stupid,” she says to a group of innocent looking 19-25-year-olds (the worst years, according to Duker). She means business.

It takes a while to kickstart the main narrative of Hag, but once it does, it flies. With gleeful knowingness, she takes us back to her childhood spent in Ghana with her “power stinking” Granny, affectionally known as Ma. But it is the tales from her journey on a lesbian cruise, alongside “700 adult women”– that she “accidentally” and “deliberately” ended up on in her early 20s that get the most belly laughs.

It is a whirlwind of sexual awakening – and we are right there with her. There’s an elaborate and bawdy re-enactment of heterosexual sex, where she likens the role of women to a cup. She urges us, over and over again to have a threesome. It’s spikier and more frisky than her first show, but Duker’s gentle prodding of her audience for being white and rich remains. Not scared to push the boundaries, she has perfected a cool-girl persona that has us clinging to her every word.