8 August 2008

Fiona O'Loughlin

Fiona was nominated for the top award in Melbourne this year, along with three other women, plus the incredible Sammy J. Despite the fact that every female comic we have been to see being a real disappointment (exempting Nina Conti as she's first and foremost a ventroloquist) we decided to be brave and book another female comic, and another Australian one at that!

[Just to fill you in a few years ago we waited for over an hour for Lucy Porter to finally start due to over-runs and we wished we hadn't. No jokes in her set, just a friendly woman smiling at you and saying how everything was nice and cute - 4 out of 10. Frightening off women for a year it was two years later when we watched Sarah Kendall return to Edinburgh with her stand-up show and the only two funny jokes came in the first and last five minutes respectively, the rest being run-of-the-mill stand-up (a generous 7 out of 10 for actually having two funny jokes in). The following year we give Best Newcomer Josie Long the benefit of the doubt, but all we got was an hour of the daughter every mother wants. Whilst she may be best friends with Lawrence Leung, his comic abilities are clearly not rubbing off on her - 6 out of 10]

So, not exactly his standards for Fiona to match. The first thing that her poster does not convey is that Fiona's performance is that of her (pretending to be?) drunk. She giggles and enjoys herself as if she is sloshed 24/7. Once I came to terms with that and got to grasps with her background, things started to flow. Her stories are engaging with a mix of chuckles and occasional belly laughs (and even an unforgettable gag about IVF children). She talks about life in the middle of the Australian Desert (Alice Springs), the Queen, her children and her relatives. She is entertaining and this year's show is a journey into herself and what led to a nervous breakdown. Some segments are therefore bereft of laughs but you still want to hear her stories and get closure on the incidents. I think she probably will be more out of the older female demographic, much like Josie Long. That said she is the best female stand-up I've seen (make sure the read the qualification above!) but she doesn't have enough in her show to grab an 8 (maybe a slightly faster pace would help), so it's an enjoyable 7 out of 10.