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Celia Pacquola - Delayed
Published on Saturday, 11 August 2012
3

3 stars

Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
Comedy
1-13, 15-27 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

In many ways Celia Pacquola’s brand of storytelling feels like you are talking to a friend. In her show Delayed she chats about her travels, relationship and the quirky situations that you find yourself in on a daily basis. Many people in their late twenties and early thirties – the Friends generation, maybe – will find her stories very relatable, and her likeable Aussie persona helps charm the crowd. However, for all the skill she displays connecting to the audience with her charm, there are a lot of gags that just miss the mark.

Most of Pacquola's show takes place between the UK and Australia. Her decision to move from Melbourne to London on a whim can be considered a brave one, when you consider she left a few valuables behind – one of these being her boyfriend. A big part of the show revolves around the comedy and struggles a long-distance relationship brings along. She does go deeper into some other subjects, such as childhood and her love of bad dancing, and in many ways she's like an antipodean Miranda Hart: naturally awkward, usually saying the wrong thing, a comical dancer.

In fact, parading her odd dance moves – including the ‘half paralysed ballerina’ move – displays the best of her goofiness, and the audience responds very warmly. Her charismatic, down-to-earth and, at times, deadpan attitude makes her a unique storyteller. Tales such as the competitive couples at the Eiffel Tower felt natural, rather than devised. And while the show is strictly stand-up, she does venture into briefly playing different characters: a depressed housemate who grew plants of hair, for instance, was brilliant.

However, Pacquola tended to try too hard to make every story sound ironic, which quickly became tedious. This was especially the case when she focused for too long on her long-distance relationship, which at first was sweet, but became quite stale. Some of her jokes – about planes and air hostesses, for instance – felt old, and she didn't need to go for these cheap laughs because she is a natural storyteller.

Pacquola is now a familiar part of Gilded Balloon's lineup of Australian comedians, and her friendly openness will win her fans at the Fringe. There are certainly glimpses of brilliance, but not enough that is new or challenging.  There's still room for a solid hour of traditional comedy, and if that's what you're after then this could be the show for you.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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