beat.com.au'...O’Loughlin shows no sign of slowing down and I hope, for all our sakes, that she never does.'open/close
Fiona O’Loughlin is having far too much fun on the stand-up comedy circuit to give it all up for PTA meetings and ladies lunches. Instead she has hit the stage with an all-new show –The Divine Miss O, proving to women of all ages that it’s okay to ditch the wrinkle cream and simply embrace the hilarity of life (And your gay icon status!)
O’Loughlin’s show is full of surprises. For instance, did you know she could sing? Well she can and she’s pretty darn good at it too. Somehow she manages to belt out a tune, wriggle around the stage and keep the audience giggling all at the same time. Even with a few audio glitches, she rolls with the punches, like a true professional and her audience forgives her for it.
Known best for her hysterical stories of mothering five children in the outback town of Alice Springs, O’Loughlin laughs about the ridiculousness and the horror of being the mother of a bald person and the ‘joys’ of living with moody teenagers.
She muses about trying to juggle family life with the craziness that comes with being a celebrity (Even if her neighbours think she’s making it all up, because they don’t get Channel Ten.)
O’Loughlin is refreshingly open about her battle with the bottle and her highly publicized fall to rock bottom. She had the audience in stitches with her stories about rehab and the awkwardness of trying to get rid the ‘friends’ you make on the inside.
Perhaps the secret to her talent lies in her knack for taking a microscope to everyday life and having a good old belly laugh at it. One thing is for sure, O’Loughlin shows no sign of slowing down and I hope, for all our sakes, that she never does.
Fiona O'Loughlin has been reborn - as the 'Divine Miss O'. With the help of 'Bitch PR' she has revamped her image and her show to include high-tech props, blonde wigs, and side-splitting dance numbers. Despite all that, fans of her usual routine need not despair. Underneath, she's still the 'mum of five from Alice', who uses her kids, friends and self as fodder for your entertainment.
She's been around so long, and I know so much about her life, that I almost feel like Fiona O'Loughlin and I are friends; longtime buddies who regularly have a giggle over a glass of bubbly - or a coke, these days. The chance to see her live took that familiarity even further - she's even more raw, honest and hilarious in person. Including giving us all the gory details of her alcohol-induced collapse, menopausal symptoms, and the emotional trauma of living with a bald man.
The behind-the-scenes crew had a plethora of technical difficulties, from problems with tickets and seating, to computer failures. Not that any of it mattered. With her usual down-to-earth professionalism, Fiona overcame it all, and had the audience in stitches from the get-go. The show was so funny, there were times when even Fiona couldn't keep herself from laughing.
THE lights go down, and on a screen hanging over the stage we watch the two effete directors of the aptly named Bitch PR assess their new client, announcing "we're going to turn you into a gay icon", before issuing a "but no Cher songs" warning.
And with that Fiona O'Loughlin, clad in black and sporting a long, straight wig, minces on to the stage and launches into a hammed-up version of Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, initially plagued by some technical difficulties with the sound that were quickly resolved.
As O'Loughlin herself notes, she tells stories rather than gags, and her new hour-long show meanders between yarns that mine familiar, but always funny, material - her family and friends; her much-publicised alcoholism and recovery (which formed the basis of last year's excellent On a Wing and a Prayer).
When the Australian comedian hits her straps, she has few peers, deftly skewering a range of targets from country-town netball girls to playgroup mothers to the cult of Dr Phil.
A gag about lighting a cigarette off the Olympic torch garnered lots of laughs. But a degree of looseness pervaded - and occasionally detracted from - the opening-night performance.
She was in fine fettle vocally, also belting out a version of The Ladies Who Lunch (from the Sondheim musical Company). And after teasing with a few bars of Lady Gaga's Born This Way, O'Loughlin - by now in a fetching golden wig - fittingly closed proceedings with ultimate gay icon Bette Midler's The Rose.
Alice Springs mother of five Fiona O’Loughlin takes to Melbourne stage this Comedy Festival with her signature life-experience based humour to render the audience in tears of laughter in the hopes of becoming Australia’s next Gay Icon in her new solo show The Divine Miss O.
Under the instruction and guidance of her management team Bitch PR, O’Loughlin graces the stage with a musical number to ‘get the gays’. In complete breach of her PR teams instructions of “No Cher songs”, Fiona’s rendition of Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves showcases not only her strength as a singer, but the power she possesses to own a stage and capture the audience.
Throwing her Cher-esq wig to the floor, O’Loughlin pulls up a chair and welcomes us all into her life, and it isn’t long before you find yourself holding your sides and begging her to stop, if only you could catch a breath.
Telling stories instead of straight jokes keeps the show real and interesting, following her past employment as a nurse, marriage, motherhood and her public battle with alcohol.
She finds laughter in recounting her last show as a ‘drinker’, having passed out on stage during a show in Brisbane after telling the audience to “Get f*#ked” and waking up in hospital the next day, O’Loughlin can match guts and gile with the best of drunk entertainers.
“I know it’s not a competition but my blood alcohol level that night was bloody impressive,” she laughs as she strolls the stage.
Throwing verbal daggers at everyone from her children, playgroup mothers, rehab room mates and giving a sneak peak at what she says to ‘The Hoff’ in this season’s premier episode of the Celebrity Apprentice, Fiona O’Loughlin is a true entertainer.
The Divine Miss O was in fine form when she gave a rendition of Sondheims Company song, The Ladies Who Lunch. Her perfect American accent and contempt for ‘those women’ kept your close attention to her relaxed and natural presence. A slight prop malfunction had her slip over on stage during Lady Gaga’s Born This Way , when she forgot to avoid the Cher wig on the floor and had her proclaim in laughter “Shit, I think I’ve done a hammy [hamstring]”. Leading directly into The Rose, by her show’s name-sake Bette Midler, it was hard for Fiona to keep a straight face, hold her now strained legs and remain on pitch.
The grace, truth, humour and beautiful singing voice of Fiona O’Loughlin secures her place as a gay icon in my eyes. An absolutely amazing show and one of this years best acts in the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2012.