I’ll say upfront that I missed the first 5 – 10 minutes due to the horrendous city traffic, even on a Tuesday night. I missed the opening so there might be a something at the beginning that brought the audience in and pulled the whole performance together, but I don’t think it would change this review.
In Jacqueline Mifsud’s last Festival show that Squirrel reviewed she took the audience on a comedy tour and played a French tour guide character in We’ll only have Paris. In Sink Full of Forks Jacqueline is being herself, talking about what she’s been up to since she came home from Paris.
She’s got a lot to talk about but doesn’t quite know how to squish it into a coherent show that has a purpose. Is she working through the loneliness after a romantic breakup? Is she dealing with her love hate relationship with her recent career as a receptionist and changing her career / life direction? Is she working out a nervous breakdown? Then there’s her insecurities about her irritating skin condition. It’s a little all over the place without really getting into the nitty gritty of any of these topics and things are amusing with the odd laugh rather than full on funny. As a wise trio of Melbourne comediennes once proved, Comedy is not pretty. You usually have to get into the ugly side of situations to get to the belly laughs.
Jacqueline is charming and brimming with stories she’s bursting to get out in a rush. The main problem is that Jacqueline has not found her comedy voice. Her timing is out, she is telling stories that are often amusing but either they don’t have a decent punchline, or she doesn’t sell the punchline properly. She tends to throw potentially funny lines aside casually. Some comedians come with their ‘comedy voice’ naturally formed, others take a while to find it. Jacqueline’s style is theatrical and hostess-like which keeps a distance between her and the audience. Maybe she was rushing out of nerves and remembering the script for her show in her head, hopefully she will calm down and find her feet with the material as the Festival goes along.
Not an unpleasant way to spend an hour at the Festival but Jacqueline needs to really find herself and her comedy style before she can put herself on the comedy stage. It’s time for her to throw off the receptionist demeanour because we are there to see her.
Sink Full of Forks is on at Tasma Terrace until April 8