Ruby Esther Does Her Besther | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Ruby Esther Does Her Besther

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Two mates and one comedy critic is no one’s dream audience, but Ruby Esther valiantly soldiered on with her debut, only occasionally referencing the awkwardness we were all pretending didn’t exist.

Even in these sub-par circumstances, this twentysomething Kiwi proves an engaging presence, laughing in the face of the insecurities which form the backbone of the hour.

Like so many comics of her generation, she’s open in talking about her anxiety, with mental health issues rarely far from the surface. Her epilepsy, her unsuccessful dating record – with several short-lived relationships with near-identical guys – and a dash of feminism fill out the setlist. 

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaThis wittily-titled debut proves a mixed bag, but while not everything fires, she can boast a small handful of exquisite one-liners that any comic would be proud of.

However, her repeated technique of delivering irrelevant, long, florid descriptions full of digressions and poetic turns of phase, only to bluntly undercut it, makes for more sluggish sections, all wistfulness and few laughs.

Setting some gags to music, strumming on her guitalele also has mixed results. Musically, the interludes are all very samey, so it’s no revelation to say they live or die by the underlying jokes, the shorter ones boasting lyrics that could be rather good tweets.

It all amounts to a dependable, if unspectacular, debut with enough promising moments to suggest she could evolve into a very decent comic. Time is certainly on her side.

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Review date: 18 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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