Jackie Loeb: Things I Can\'t Talk About

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Jackie Loeb straddles the worlds of stand-up and cabaret, with her spiky, embittered banter providing an abrasive edge you don’t expect from your average torch singer.

But from a comedy point of view, that same patter isn’t offering much new. The uppity persona is appealing, but she doesn’t capitalise on it for anything more than cheap gags.

The premise of Things I Can’t Talk About is… well, take a wild guess. Supposedly taboo subjects such as religion, homosexuality, war, politics, swearing and drugs are all on the agenda. But far from being off limits, that’s pretty much the checklist of 90 per cent of comics when it comes to writing material.

Sure, Loeb may have found herself in corporate gigs, playing cruise liners or performing at octogenarian birthday parties when she’s been advised to steer clear of these topics, but that’s surely only a matter of horses for courses. Loeb’s stock gag for this situation, which she does three or four times this hour, is to explain the constraints imposed on her, then sing a song touching all those bases.

Fifteen years in the business, she knows how to banter, and a polite festival audience hold no fears for her – so it’s with a forceful, direct delivery she chunters through the material.

She has a good voice on her, too, not only demonstrating a fine range in her own compositions, but accurately impersonating everyone from Cher to Anastacia in her catalogue of parody songs. And you don’t want to see what this out-of-shape 35-year-old does to mimic the hip-wriggling Shakira – she really doesn’t have the stomach for it. And neither does the audience.

Throwing dignity to the wind is all part of her appealing no-nonsense stance, but even that, and her considerable performance ability, is too often let down by stand-up material that doesn’t rise above the pedestrian.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Melbourne, April 2007

Review date: 8 Apr 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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