Elouise Eftos: Australia's First Attractive Comedian | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Elouise Eftos: Australia's First Attractive Comedian

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

In a nation known for its dislike of ‘tall poppies’, it’s surely the height of arrogance to call yourself ‘Australia’s first attractive comedian’.

But that’s precisely the point of Elouise Eftos’s uber-high-status shtick. She has the same withering attitude as the loftiest, most fabulous drag queen, dismissively sneering at lesser mortals – ‘normies’ in her depersonalising terminology – for daring to go around being dreary and ugly. 

Our drab everyday lives are baffling to her, a woman so good-looking every door is opened. ‘I literally could be doing anything else,’ she tells us, but instead she has deigned to grace us with her company.

The rowdy late-night crowd lap up her every haughty insult, whooping and hollering their support. There’s no little irony to the persona, not least when she complains about being a member of that oppressed minority that is ‘hot people’, but everyone’s happy to go along with the facade.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaNor is it enough that she’s attractive. Unfairly, it seems, she’s got a powerful, jazzy singing voice, the physicality to end on a raucous burlesque dance and a talent for over-the-top comedy sketches such as the hilarious Basic Instinct parody with which she opens the show.

Success is slightly more mixed with her ‘two-minute fantasies’, mini character skits based around sexy archetypes such as the bookworm or the rock chick barmaid. But they are strongly drawn caricatures that allow her to indulge her domineering crowd-work skills. 

Using her sexuality so explicitly has led to complaints she’s a bad feminist, according to some critics’ narrow definitions – though she does tackle topics such as cat-calling head-on.

However, using stage time to responding to pointed things other comedians have said about her, directly or indirectly feels a bit petty and insidery. Beneath her, in fact. Someone of such elevated status should not concern herself with what such jealous nobodies says, to be true to her character, especially as her best response to naysayers is to deliver a wild, high-octane performance as powerful as this.

That said, reviving the much-publicised moment that former AFL player Ricky Nixon called her a ‘fat, ugly slut’ moves from shock at his vileness to Eftos’s triumph at his expense. But he’s the has-been, and she’s the future superstar. She’s already acting like she’s at that level and it’s surely only a matter of time before she gets there with funny instincts and performance skills as strong as this.

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Review date: 16 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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