This review won’t tell you too much about Celia Pacquola’s one-hour Fringe show because it’s about trying to predict the future and giving you clues would be far too ironic.
It would also spoil the fun, of which there is a great deal, and the poignancy, of which there is just enough.
Pacquola, who will be familiar to some as the “straight guy” in the ABC satire Utopia, is a talented writer whose routine is (for Fringe stand-up) unusually cohesive.
It’s about her desire to gain insight into her future. Although she suspects or even knows that it’s all rubbish, she regularly consults psychics (AKA strangers out the back of crystal shops). It’s all harmless stuff until, on tour in the UK, she visits a palm reader called Tony.
That’s all I’ll say about the “plot”, but her journey takes her into some hilarious as well as vulnerable places. Pacquola doesn’t let the humour flag (except at one crucial moment), although she does mine her personal life (apparently) with sometimes disarming candour.
She lets her darkness show, covered just enough by comic timing and wit. The shadow is there, though – and we see it, and she sees that we see it (one joke about her attempt to remake herself after a break-up is both hilarious and troubling).
Having said all that, it’s not difficult to spend an hour with Pacquola and you will laugh – lots.
She’s gifted with a natural, relaxed charm – it’s a bit like having a drink with a very witty, self-deprecating friend.
Her observational comedy clearly hits the mark of self-recognition for the enthusiastic Tuesday night crowd.
She also does surprisingly good impressions of inanimate objects.
Best of all, she weaves a deeper strand of meaning through the whole thing – which is very clever.
Celia Pacquola is performing Let Me Know How It All Works Out in Studio 7, Garden of Unearthly Delights, until February 18.
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