Credited as Australia’s Queen of Comedy, Fiona O’Loughlin brought her A Few of My Favourite Things show to The Factory Theatre last week as a part of the Sydney Comedy Festival.

After finally seeing her live I believe in this title, not because her jokes get the most laughs, but because her comedy so clearly represents that of the country at large. She’s much more eloquent and succinct than the rest of us, but her stories feel familiar thanks to her self-deprecating and irreverent attitude.

From the moment she hits the stage, O’Loughlin digs up the darkest and most embarrassing moments of her life for all to see, before shredding them, and herself, apart. Topics jump erratically from that time she woke up from a coma, to her various struggles with alcoholism and her ill-fated marriage, with O’Loughlin’s quintessential Australian self-deprecation never failing to get a rise from the crowd.

O’Loughlin seems relaxed and comfortable on stage, launching from one story to another like an excited dinner party guest. Her performance feels like an intimate hour-long conversation full of reminiscing and the spilling of beans. O’Loughlin gives the impression that she could talk for hours, weaving fascinating and hilarious tales from any memory.

There’s sadness in her stories too; alcoholism and dysfunction are predominant factors in O’Loughlin’s memories, and her apparent honesty on these matters is probably what makes her so relatable, and her punchlines so warming. Life is messy, but Fiona O’Loughlin makes it okay to recognise the flaws and to laugh at our own expense.

 – Nick Longshow