Bec Sandys: Off The Rails | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Bec Sandys: Off The Rails

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

An adventurous soul, Bec Sandys has had an incident-packed life to draw upon, from being a wild party girl in the 1990s to  jobs as varied as packing parachutes (even when horrifically hungover) and touring schools with a sex education play. 

Even in her mid-40s, she took up skateboarding for the thrills, and it was presumably the same carpe diem spirit that drew her to comedy half a dozen years ago.

But while her reckless past provides excellent fodder for barroom anecdotes, turning them into well-crafted stand-up proves more difficult. Most of her stories are stuffed with unnecessary detail and lack the form - or sometimes even the ending – that would take the listener on a journey.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaFor example, there’s a long chunk about her landing a job commentating on her beloved cricket, in which she explains her love of the game, the nature of the show she’s involved with and what she has to do on air. The tale involves her setting up a bet with a colleague, so she explains who was batting at the time and how many runs he’d have to score for her to lose, explaining that the target was against the pace of play. 

And all that information turns out to be a preamble for a tale about photocopying her boobs at work, but getting it wrong. This yarn does, at least, have a payoff but there’s heaps of build-up, adding nothing.

That commentating job requires an ability to talk about anything to cover the interminable gaps in play, and there’s no denying that the gift of the gab is a skill Sandys possesses. But it’s a different one that’s required in stand-up. Why, for example, should we care about her reaction to an attention-seeking Facebook post from a decade ago?

For all the padding, there is enough content at the heart of the stories to keep things vicariously interesting, with the most fruitful coming from her youth in the small New Zealand town of Ashburton, going to woolshed parties and taking an unusual approach to dyeing her hair.

She’s engaging company, with a vibrant spark of adventure in her demeanour, plus a winningly open personality, apparently willing to share all aspects of her life with a roomful of strangers. But Sandys needs to bring out her inner editor and director to form these myriad experiences into punchier stand-up.

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Review date: 18 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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