While waiting for Fiona O’Loughlin to come on stage at the new St Kilda winter garden known as Map 57, we see a guitar and a few mics set up next to the stand up’s own microphone. While thinking that O’Loughlin may have turned her wares to a musical act, it was actually a separate set up for what would be the warm up act – O’Loughlin’s daughter Mary-Agnes O’Loughlin.
Mary-Agnes is not one for comedy though. Her songs are sweet and reflective, straight out of the country towns of Australia with dollop of folk. Mary-Agnes’ songs wouldn’t seem out of place with a Woodford Folk Festival (or the many folk festivals around, really) and it provided a laughless, but adorable beginning to the evening.
Her mum, Fiona then is introduced, and well, the stand up comes in strong. Fiona straight away mentions that it’s the first time she’s been in Melbourne since some weird shit went down, and we proceed to learn about her experiences of being in a coma.
Fiona O’Loughlin’s life has been a hell of a wild ride. She’s never been shy from talking about her addiction to alcohol and the consequences and complexities that come with it. She outwardly moves from this recent bout of comatose effortlessly to stories that form an overarching theme all related to death.
This is all told without any ounce of shame or embarrassment, and it shouldn’t. It’s a bold comedian who comes on stage and gives us their life in the warts-and-all type of way. It’s just her, giving us weird and sometimes painful anecdotes of the dangers she confronted that get her close to death’s door. The fact that she is on stage right now is a beautiful thing, she sprites around the stage, composed and very much in a mindset that is an absolute no-bullshit mindset.
This small set of shows at Map 57 will see Fiona O’Loughlin be as bold as she can be while being vulnerable as well. There’s no shame in that. We’re all human, and if Fiona taught this reviewer anything is that stories really do make a person. She, the audience and this lil’ scribe as well will all die one day as well, so we all may as well get all that repressed stuff out sooner rather than later.
Fiona O’Loughlin is performing at Melbourne’s Map 57 Winter Garden in St Kilda until 8th July. More info here.
The reviewer attended the performance on 6th July.