6 August 2010

Celia Pacquola - Flying Solos

Last year Celia's debut Edinburgh show went down very well with me and many other reviews / critics / people-with-an-inflated-opinion-of-their-own-importance.  She is a very friendly Ozzie, quite positive and a good communicator.  So in the same outfit as last year she greets her sold-out audience for her new show in the same venue.  This year Celia focuses on doing things on your own, encompassing intentional feats and embarrassing moments.  Her warmth really sets the audience at ease even as she tries to get them to cheer if they've made similar mortifying mistakes.  Normally this type of audience interaction dies quite painfully and you see a drop in the performers tone or effort but not so with Celia.  Her unending positivity rides over the awkwardness and brings the audience with her along a journey of trying to achieve something impossible on her own, namely playing the piano solo from "I'm So Excited".
Along the way we have insights back into Celia's shameful childhood and the relationship she has with her mother.  It's not all personal discover as there are some very good jokes and concepts in there, especially a cleaning joke that seemed to not get the credit or time it deserved (but that might be a cultural thing).  Her merging between video, props and music is very smooth and seamless, just like her lights & clicking trick from last year.  The show builds to a climax for Celia to genuinely stand up on her own two feet, even beyond the scope of the stage, and achieve something that seemed totally impossible at the beginning of the show.  The audience really loved it and left elated and feeling so positive, in fact I defy anyone to leave the show not feeling uplifted (cue inevitable comparisons with Adam Hills and quite rightly so).  A thoroughly enjoyable hour from such a likeable person, 8 out of 10, aka 4 stars and I will be back to see Celia again next year!

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