Take a peep at Isy's show
T here is something very likeable about Isy Suttie. Whether it is her soft Northern accent, her chatty style of storytelling or the fact she's talking to me like an old friend while she's waiting for a train, the words down to earth are certainly apt.
Born in Hull and raised in Matlock, Derbyshire, the 33- year-old says there wasn't a lot of stand-up on offer when she was growing up.
She says: "It was quite a small town and there really wasn't a lot of stand-up so I didn't really understand how it worked.
"I started playing my guitar when I was about 10 or 11 and I wanted to act as well.
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"I wrote stuff and I wanted to be in stuff.
"I did try to do music seriously but it didn't quite work out that way."
Graduating from Guildford School of Acting in 2003, Isy started in stand-up three years later and music played a large role in her act.
As well as several comedy shows, she has had appearances on Holby City, Skins, and Rab C Nesbitt and has written for both stage and screen.
She says: "Acting, music and comedy all came at the same time for me, really.
"I think my style is sort of story telling with funny songs and sometimes I do voices and characters.
"Music is a big part of what I do as well – it all flows into one."
Aged 10, Isy released a balloon from her garden, with a plea for a pen pal inside. She hoped it would reach Australia – but instead, it reached 25-year-old Dave two doors down the road.
In her latest show, Dave's blossoming internet romance is interwoven with Isy's own search for true love, and the whole tale is peppered with her songs.
"It's the story of my old pen pal and his relationship with someone on the internet and then my love life over the years. It's got a happy ending, though, because I've a boyfriend now and I talk about him in the show. But the stories work quite well together."
Using anecdotes and detail from her own life, Isy says it's accents and physical mannerisms that help bring her characters to life.
She says: "Generally, the stories are based on things that happen to me or people I know.
"I try to find the little details – specific physical details or mannerisms help make them more real for the audience.
"I'm not political at all, I'm not very well versed in that sort of thing, it's more observational stuff."
And her laid back, friendly style, coupled with music, has drawn favourable comparisons to comedy great Victoria Wood.
She says: "I haven't actually seen much Victoria Wood and since people have made the comparison I've avoided watching her altogether because I never want to think that I'm copying her.
"I think she's fantastic and it's very flattering though.
"I don't think there was a particular comic that inspired me – I like all sorts of different artists.
"I like Tom Draper as a musician and I like comics like Phil Kay. He's very genuine and in his shows anything could happen.
"He can really hit a raw note, and it can move you and still make you laugh and I like that. I like to get absorbed in something."
On her last visit to Bristol, supporting Stephen K Amos in Bristol's Comedy Garden, Isy had just finished filming two episodes of Skins, in which she played a nurse.
She says: "It was nice to be part of that because I had done some writing for series three and four.
"Although it was a totally different cast, I knew the director and the producer so it wasn't like being the new kid at school.
"Writing for Skins was a brilliant opportunity and they really support new writers – I learned so much."
And in between touring with her show, her next project is a musical sitcom.
She says: "I'm on my way to start work on that now.
"We're writing the pilot for a sitcom based in a railway station cafe, although I'm not sure how that's going to work with touring.
"I've been trying to work out a way of getting music into a sitcom. It's not going to be a cheesy musical, though.
"I think there is a way of combining comedy and music without having people randomly burst into song.
"I've also done a pilot for Jason Manford and after that I'll be doing Peep Show again – doing a mixture of stuff is great. I really do enjoy my job.
"Some days I look in my diary and think 'Oh, I get to play a monkey today' and other days I'll be doing a corporate voiceover or something.
"It's fun that I never know what's coming next."
Isy Suttie plays The Tobacco Factory on Tuesday, May 8, at 8pm. Tickets cost £13. Tel 0117 902 0344