|I Dropped Nine Dress Sizes | Em O’Loughlin|
|Written by Liza Dezfouli|
|Tuesday, 19 April 2011 10:58|
It’s true, Em O’Loughlin was once size 30 and is now nine dress sizes smaller. Her show is about gaining huge amounts of weight and then losing it after gastric banding surgery. This is quite some journey and there is much to be curious about but in the attempt to render it funny her show becomes an uncomfortable mixture of truth and contrivance.
Em O’Loughlin is confident on stage, and is a natural mimic, doubly blessed with one Scottish and one Irish grandmother, both of whom we’d love to hear more from. Her sandwich board info graphics are a nice idea and could be made funnier – here she could go really whacky. The first mirror 'reveal' is pointless and doesn't add anything. The second 'reveal' does work. Her finishing note is lovely.
Unless you’re a wit of great skill where your actual jokes are utterly on the money, or such an imaginative weirdo that you can say anything and be captivating, then what you’ve got to offer is a personal take on your own life. In this case it is an interesting life but her audience is left wondering.
Em O’Loughlin’s show shies away from the more personal and more interesting aspects of her journey. She strives for laughs instead of trusting in the power of real life details. And there are some killer details – this girl was once so fiercely in the grip of compulsive eating she scoffed down a jar of chocolate body paint and a pair of edible undies! But we want more: how did she really feel about all that food? What was really going on inside? How painful was the surgery? What was it like to be no longer so controlled by addiction? What about not having a boyfriend until she was 40? Does that mean she hadn’t ...??? We want to know! Do we have a right to know? Is it ok to just tell part of the story even though this is what the show is all about? Her holding back (for reasons of privacy or out of fear of going too dark?), makes for a generally unsatisfying audience experience. The audience (nearly all women) were with her all along and wanted to laugh, wanted to share. (Or is it just me, having been in that situation myself?)
O’Loughlin has the personality and presence to give us her stories and still make us laugh without putting in ‘big’ jokes that don’t happen naturally, so to speak – if she could do this the show might really distinguish itself from the others in the great puddle of comedy on offer.
I Dropped Nine Dress Sizes
Part of the 2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Bertha Brown | 562 Flinders St, Melbourne
Dates: 14 – 23 April, 2011
Times: Tue-Thu & Sat-Sun 7.30pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $22 – $15
Bookings: 03 9629 1207 | tixbox.com.au