Monday, 30 March 2015

Cal Wilson in Undercurrents, 29 March 2015 ***

Swiss Club, until 19 April 2015
Melbourne Comedy Festival 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ***
This review also published online in Herald Sun 30 March, 2015. KH

Cal Wilson says that her show title, Undercurrents, refers to all those secret and peculiar inner thoughts that we never reveal to the world. Evidently, she has plenty of them.

Two otters and an egg beater (no spoilers) encapsulate what she sees as her own, eccentric, meandering musings and she reincorporates those otters at regular intervals to make her point.

Wilson chatters about her passion for Christmas and all things Christmassy, particularly since having her child, and her fervour extends to Santa, reindeers, gift-wrapping and when to take down a Chrissie tree.

Her son's antics and childish idiosyncrasies provide lots of material but she misses what seems a golden opportunity to get laughs from the thoroughly modern, inner-city hipster names of her son, Digby, and his friend, Jasper.

Wilson mines more material from her hobby of relentlessly but playfully tormenting her unflappable husband with grotesque seductions or a mind-blowingly annoying, shrill voice she uses to drive him (and us) insane.

She makes an error of comedy judgment with her suggestion, or more accurately, her accusation that Australians are racists. If you are bagging Australians, you had better produce some really funny material about it or it just sounds unpleasant. 

Her audience interaction is gentle as she invites suggestions of quirky, Australian turns of phrase that she has never heard before, including Australianisms such as "clacker" or "Flat out like a lizard drinking."

However, her requests for examples of new and sexier words for female genitalia dragged on too long.

Wilson's cheerful, charming demeanour and mischievous smile compensate for some weaknesses in her comic material and the structure of her show.


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