AUSSIE comic Celia Pacquola has been living in London for two years now and, as you might expect, concentrates much of her show on cultural differences, the stresses of maintaining a long-distance relationship and going to the toilet in the dark because she’s too lazy to change the lightbulb.
A likeable lassie, she looks a wee bit like Davina McCall – just as manic, but nowhere near as irritating. She can’t tell a single joke without pulling a silly face, either, and, unlike many comedians you’ll experience at the Fringe this year, involves the audience rather than picks on them.
It all starts with some “ugly” dancing, slowly easing into the routine before ending with a slightly drawn-out gag involving a well-known TV celebrity. All very wry, all very safe – it’s as if Pacquola has honed her act in a light-hearted “everywoman” way to attract the attentions of TV comedy producers.
Such homogenised comedy is fine if you have long-term career ambitions, but you get the feeling there’s something a little more dastardly or bitchy lurking behind the Aussie’s charming exterior. Exploiting this side of her nature would certainly ensure a more compelling performance.
Sex, of course, is rarely left out of a comic’s set and the raven-haired jokester is no different. This usually involves her boyfriend (via Skype) and smutty words she’s learnt whilst in the UK. However, you can tell she’s not that interested in it, and even though she may feel sex chat is a must to engage any audience, leaving it out would make for a tighter show.
Belly laughs are not what you’ll find rippling through one of Pacquola’s performances, either. The laughs aren’t that hearty, but they’re frequent and that’s a good thing. Any pregnant pauses are quickly stifled – usually with another laugh – and she can certainly think quickly on her feet.
It seems the Melbourne comedienne is content to avoid anything too daring and concentrate on appealing to as wide an audience as possible. It makes her easy to watch, fun even. However, adding a little more meat to the gravy wouldn’t do her any harm.
Run ends August 27