Celia Pacquola

Comedy, Stand Up
4 out of 5 stars
Celia Pacquola 2013 photographer credit Andy Hollingworth
Photograph: Andy Hollingworth

The comedian and star of ABC's Rosehaven and Utopia is bringing her latest stand-up show to the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent

Fans of Celia Pacquola the actress (of ABC comedies Rosehaven and Utopia) will not be disappointed by Pacquola the stand-up comedian. While – as she warns the audience early on – there aren’t any infrastructure jokes, her stand-up shtick is more or less what you’d expect given her on-screen characters. She’s very much playing the ‘loveable loser’ card.

Or as Pacquola says, “I’m a 33-year-old single woman and borderline alcoholic who eats cheese without cutting it.” She walks a line between self-deprecating and DGAF swagger, while intermittently apologising for terrible ‘dad’ jokes. It goes over well with a mostly female but also mostly older audience.

The Looking Glass sees her examining herself just closely enough to be both funny and relatable. She starts off pretty vanilla, just setting up the scene: she lives alone, eats pizza at all hours, loves beer, doesn’t ‘get’ online dating, and is basically bit ‘undateable’ (and cheerfully so).

She’s far funnier as she transitions into snarkier territory: a takedown of Miranda Kerr’s self-help manual Treasure Yourself gets a righteous bollocking (Pacquola draws a line at the supermodel cashing-in on teens with self-esteem issues).

But this is comedy that punches up, never down. Pacquola is the kind of comedian your mum would describe as “the nice girl from the ABC,” with solid ethics and a non-judgmental attitude: “If there’s something you enjoy doing that doesn’t hurt anyone, go for it – own that,” she says at one point in the show. Her pro-marriage-equality and pro-climate-action stances also win her brownie points with the crowd.

But she’s at her funniest when she’s dipping into absurdist and surreal territory: a visit to a cat café (she describes them as strip joints for lonely single women) in which she incidentally happens to be wearing a swimming cap; an anecdote about online-dating a man with an unexpectedly small head; her taxonomy of pets/owners (“Rabbits are like cats with broken legs: they cannot leave you”); and her theory that the human race will be wiped out by nut allergies. These are the moments where the real lols happen.

The Looking Glass is sold-out – but you can still try for $26 last-minute tickets through the Sydney Festival Tix for Next to Nix outlet.

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