By Lisa Clark
Bronwyn Kuss has a very distinct style of comedy which is slow, quiet and downbeat where sometimes the silences are longer than the jokes. She’s as dry as you might expect a comedian from country Queensland to be, she’s also confident and comfortable on stage, but what is her second solo festival show about? Certainly not what the publicity blurb suggests.
OK so let’s talk about the description of the show in the MICF Guide:
Very mild themes* and language** and no crowd work***
This show is a safe space***, or a trap. Who knows.
Anyway, sing out if you need anything.
Bronwyn relays stories about her childhood and growing up with too many aunties****, ruminates on how close she came to joining a cult***** and laments her total inability to ever make a decision.
Sound good? You should probably buy a ticket.
*she talks about paedophilia
** she teaches us the meaning of “Growling Out”
***she teases the front row and latecomers (though she doesn’t ask what they do for a living thank god). One bloke in the front row, moved back a row, part way through and Bronwyn stops the show to comment on it and embarrass him.
Nothing else in the blurb seems to reflect the show I saw either. Is it part of her dry ironic humour or is it indeed a trap?
So things change a lot as a festival show develops, that’s normal, but the actual content was all over the place and perhaps is not quite ready for a festival. The many brief stories she touches on were really interesting, quite funny and could have been the basis of shows of their own. A story about working in a prison would have been a goldmine of material and her trip across American could have been a brilliant structure for a show. Instead her side stories have the vaguest of connections to her main thread.
It was also frustrating to see her specifically reference certain people to highlight homophobia in the most lazy way imaginable. She refers to drag artist Pauline Pantsdown in the past tense as if she died in the 90s (she’s still active politically on Twitter) and talks about Pauline Hanson but appears to be unaware of the current news cycle were Hanson has somehow, surprisingly, (and potentially hilariously) come out as a gay advocate.
My mind started to wander as she talked about a first aid course, finding her slow delivery style quite the slog for an hour of stand up. Her tales about her relationships included information about a Bendigo paedophile called the Bendigo Toe Tickler which elicited a shocked gasp from the audience louder than any laugh she received.
It’s a very meandering show where she attempts the “going off on many tangents” style of a Billy Connolly or Ross Noble but doesn’t quite pull it off. The original story is not quite riveting or memorable enough for the audience to be excited about returning to. The journey of coming out to her dad at the beginning and her Mum’s different reaction at the end lacks something when we’ve learnt very little about her parents to have any connection with them and maybe coming out stories just aren’t as interesting as they used to be.
Bronwyn won awards and nominations with her debut show last year and I can’t help but think this one suffered from a bit of second album syndrome. Bronwyn has a unique comedic style and a lot of potential.
Sounds Good is on at The Westin until April 23