Delayed | Celia Pacquola

Delayed | Celia PacquolaPhoto – James Penlidis

Celia Pacquola
has me – and the rest of the audience – mesmerized.

It could be the way her animated face pulls different expressions this way and that, or the constant movement of her hands, with body not far behind, but for me I think it's her voice – it's like hearing a child speak fluently in a foreign language you've been studying; you know all the words but it never occurred to you to put them together that way.

Part of that is because I'm older and it never ceases to amaze me how each generation automatically absorbs their peer-group's phrasing and expressions, but it's more because Ms P thinks differently to most folk.

Not differently in a Tea Party vs the Intelligent World kind-of-way, but she thinks in a way that makes sense once you hear it – it just never occurred to you to join those particular dots. Her own summary is: "I'm interested in the little things that don't mean anything."

Of course she's not the only comedian to base a routine on observations or experiences, but she's one of the few to do it so confidently and fluently while being so disarmingly honest about her own hang-ups and vulnerabilities.

The basis of her new show, Delayed, is the past two years she spent in the UK "trying to better herself" – and yes, that is a direct quote. Not trying to improve her comedy or find new material; the aim was to become a better person.

Traits she hopes to remove include being "clumsy, insecure and a wimp". Now I don't want to get into an argument with someone of her mental dexterity, but how anyone can dance on stage with the affected, gawky grace she adopts, and bare at least mental images of her body plus large chunks of her soul in front of a cosy, in-ya-face audience and still claim to be "clumsy, insecure and a wimp" is beyond me.

Still I'll go along with it for the laughs.

She does it with natural talent to spare and it never once sounds contrived. In fact, why this woman isn't getting more airtime is another of life's great mysteries.

I hope her partner Toby is comfortable with the moments she shares from their long-distance relationship ("There are times when you want your partners there – like when you've got an important show or when you're putting on a doona cover") but my personal favourite image is of her failing to choose a hair dye colour, because she couldn't get past the facial expression of the models on the box: "What are you smiling at, Majestic Platinum?"

We're all smiling at you, Celia.

Adams Management and Melbourne International Comedy Festival present
Celia Pacquola

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall - Portico Room, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 29 March – 22 April 2012
Times: Tue-Sat 8.30pm
Sun 7.30pm
Tickets: Concession/Group/Laugh Pack $23; Full $28
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 and at the door

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