Julia Morris: Shoosh Please!

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

With renewed fame in her homeland, thanks to singing in a weekly celebrity reality show, Julia Morris makes a triumphant return to the Melbourne comedy festival. The venue is packed, and the audience appreciative.

What they are treated to is a brisk run-through of about three years worth of material from her international travels – part greatest hits, part new material. The show is broadly split into national chapters, from Singapore where rude shop assistants criticise her size, to her disappointment with the grim realities of living in Britain, where she moved for a while.

Much of this deals with broad stereotypes: in Hollywood everyone is shallow; Londoners are rude but Parisians ruder – that much we know. However, Morris’s appeal, which she has in spades, is not in pushing back the frontiers of comedy, but in the gloriously sarcastic attitude she approaches it.

She’s a TV star, on stage in a spangly couture dress, talking cheerily about her jetsetting life. But barely concealed behind that glamorous exterior, she’s still a crude Aussie from a backwater town. So when she wants to take out her frustrations on a snooty at a high-end boutique, it’s with a very unladlylike tirade of foulmouthed abuse.

Like Dame Edna’s New South Wales niece, Morris is the personification of social-climbing suburbia – trying to maintain a veneer of dignity, but prone to exposing her common roots.

Talking of ‘roots’, she likes them, too, wherever she can get them (at least until her recent marriage) – another betrayal of the ‘proper’ person she’s supposedly trying to project.

It’s a hugely entertaining comic stance, and the audience – especially the Australia audience – are always behind her, recognising, perhaps, one of their uncouth own. She exploits that love very well, building a conspiracy of comedy, The breathless pace of her delivery adds to the fun, too.

Some of the best bits of this show have been in her set for a while, most notably the hilarious finale describing an episode of the New Faces talent hunt from the early days of TV, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the hour

Morris never made the impact in Britain that she did in her native land, but seeing her at the top of her game, it’s hard to explain why not.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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