Kylie Brakeman review – Hollywood’s hypocrisies lampooned

Linda Hollywood is an old-school actor turned agent and she is going to deliver a masterclass on how to make it in the industry. Step one: move to LA. Step two? Be born wealthy.

US comedian Kylie Brakeman made the most of pandemic restrictions, gaining huge followings on social media thanks to her video sketches of well-observed characters – Linda Hollywood among them. This fast-talking character embodies a trope we see in popular culture fairly regularly – from Joey Tribbiani’s chain-smoking agent Estelle in Friends to Toast of Tinseltown’s taxi-driving LA guide. On stage, there is an opportunity to delve deeper. We discover Linda has created a PR nightmare for herself after making a sexist joke during an interview. Will she double down on her comments or will there be an epiphany about the treatment of women in Hollywood?

There are some fun lines lampooning a certain era of “lean in” businesswoman, as she flits between schmoozing and brutal honesty. And Brakeman highlights the hypocrisies of the film industry with pleasingly absurd turns of phrase.

Kylie Brakeman
All-in … Kylie Brakeman. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Linda has some help filling the hour. We meet two of her clients: Eva Lil Something Something, who claims to be a straight-talking sex adviser but can’t help resorting to euphemism; and “the six-year-old divorcee” who puts a childhood spin on Joan Rivers-esque standup. Fans of Brakeman’s online videos will recognise the latter, and the eagle-eyed will spot bits from other characters, such as “Acting teacher who’s just sort of winging it at this point”, woven through the show. Unfortunately, Brakeman’s excellent parody of a screenwriter on a date didn’t make it to stage this time.

A couple of the characters are a little one-note, and there could be greater differentiation between some of the performances. But Brakeman is consistently high-energy and her confidence ensures that a piece of audience work which, depending on who’s picked could have been tricky, is executed to perfection. And a Doritos commercial audition is a hilarious highlight, thanks to her all-in performance.

It’s a fun hour, peaking with some tension-building physical comedy as Linda is forced to confront her past.