For a little over an hour, on the night of the federal election, we all put away our phones and stopped refreshing the #auspol Twitter feed. Somewhere in the middle of that hour, the election result would be called. Possibly during a joke about the likelihood of Greta Thunberg double-bagging a dildo. We’d all come out of that little Newtown comedy bar temporarily rinsed from political discourse, and ready for a post-Scomo world.
Bec Melrose was our happenstance bespectacled midwife into the new Australia. A well-known name on the Sydney comedy circuit, she’s opened for Wil Anderson, written for shows like Gruen and Question Everything, and won the 2018 RAW Comedy award. Her new show Wildflower – fittingly debuting in Enmore Theatre’s Wildflower bar – is a rather lovely, eclectic and occasionally laugh-out-loud amble through her distracted yet sharp-witted mind, which she herself has only recently come to understand a little better.
Because she is "not an eight-year-old boy", and because of a sexist medical industry which fails to recognise how conditions present differently among genders, Bec learned pretty late in life that she has ADHD. Now in her thirties, it makes a lot of sense. Occasionally checking her notes ("if you’re judging me, it’s discrimination," she quips), and embellished with PowerPoint slides, she opens up about what having ADHD has meant, before and after diagnosis, to herself and to others. The Guatemalan worry dolls her parents gave her, for instance. What the inside of her fridge looks like, and why she has bought the same dress four times. The annoying way people point to high-achievers like Simone Biles and say "she has ADHD too!", and the pressurising "up by your bootstraps" insinuation behind it.
There are digressions – for instance, to the exceptionally large toes of Helen of Troy and the origins of the vibrator – and sparkling drollery that more than proves her comedy writing cred.
While it needs a little more sculpting (and memorisation), the material here is good, and the final message about leaning into what makes you unique is a wholesome and uplifting one. As Bec rightly observes (pointing randomly at different audience members), we’re all fucked up by some metric of the social norm. Sometimes the ways in which one is fucked up are more visible than others, and sometimes they have their own mental health categories. But we shouldn’t feel trapped, socially shamed, or defined by our differences.
It’s a theme doing the rounds among neurodiverse standups, at the Sydney Comedy Festival and in the clubs, but one which is no less affirming for the repetition. Particularly when it comes from a comedian as winsome as Bec. Who will, no doubt, have Wildflower grow even more wild and beautiful every time this show is given room to flourish.