I am yet to be disappointed by any Australian woman at this year’s comedy festival. Nelly Thomas is no exception. This is a show about options and what the hell to do with them.
The show was kicked off by, superb comedy actress, Kate McLennan set in the pose of a primary school teacher, reading a book to the audience, or ‘grade three’ as she called us. The lovely by product of this was that the people who arrived after the first wave of early comers were visibly confused by the notion that they’d walked in late, to the wrong show. It turns out that Kate was portraying Mrs McCook, Nelly’s favourite ever teacher, who, in grade three, told Nelly that she could be anything she wanted. The result of this revelation underpins the whole show.
This show explore everything Nelly could have ever done with her life, and everything she has done, from trying to join the military to dressing up as poultry. With lighting and key phrases it is cleverly, yet simply, structured into vignettes, which document Nelly’s journey from growing up in Merredin in WA to evolving through job after job, to eventually become a comedian. As an X Gen bod myself, I particularly enjoy comedians of the same vintage as me, particularly when they tell stories I can relate to expressly, like growing up in a small town where the Alby Mangles film playing at the Town Hall is the cultural event of the year. But Nelly’s accomplished stage presence makes this a show which is accessible to all.
Kate McLennan shines in her various roles. Her strong history of character work comes to the fore in this show, as she slots into a variety of roles which help to illustrate Nelly’s story, whilst also bolstering the feather light whimsy with which this story is told. Kate’s portrayal of both of Nellie’s parents is a particular standout.
This is a really enjoyable, very funny show. I defy anyone to not be taken in by the charm of this story and of these two performers. You’d be struggling to be disappointed by it.
For full booking details go to the Melbourne Comedy Festival website