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Fiona O'Loughlin [2008]

Fiona O'Loughlin [2008]

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Barry Award nominee at the 2008 Melbourne comedy festival

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Original Review:

Fiona O’Loughlin says her impending menopause means she’s ‘going to morph into a bitter, twisted bitch’. The question is, how will we know?

She is already gloriously insulting about her ‘white trash bogan’ family in Australia, sniping away at anorexic sisters, idiot sons and a long-suffering husband stuck back in Alice Springs. She gleefully confesses to being a terrible parent, smoking and drinking and generally unconcerned about her offsprings’ wellbeing – after all, with five children, she’s can afford to lose a couple. She makes Kerry Katona look like a worthy Mother Of The Year, but her parenting’s nothing compared to the callousness with which she tackled her first job, a trainee nurse.

Still, now she can blame her hormones on whatever insensitive stories and catty putdowns she shares with the audience. It’s medical; she’s unwell – not just a woman with a terrible, terrible compunction to speak her cruel mind.

Mind you, that trait has served her well over seven festival shows down under and a couple of previous Edinburghs. She’s not going to tinker with a winning formula now. A brisk introduction fills us in on sequoia-sized family tree, from grand matriarch to precocious four-year-old, before she moves onto longer stories about herself.

She doesn’t do jokes, per se, and it barely feels like she’s performing – she has the air of a tipsy woman in a near-empty bar, gossiping away to anyone who’ll listen. And who wouldn’t want to eavesdrop on that?

Some of her anecdotes are semi-distracted brain dumps, not quite engaged enough with finding the funnies. She mocks her own obsession with celebrity culture, but not knowing who Cate Blanchett’s husband is or what Demi Moore’s child looks like might limit the enjoyment of this section, too.

But when she hits her form, the lack of filter on what comes out of her mouth proves a guilty pleasure. And whatever she says about everyone else, she’s the one who emerges from the hour with the least glory.

Wit seems to run in the family, as a hugely entertaining tale about her great-uncle heckling his own Last Rites effectively demonstrates. She loses her way a little in the middle of this show, but her attitude of confessional, insouciance, and her refreshingly blunt stories provide a lot of great laughs.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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