You wouldn’t get too many disagreements if you called Denise Scott one of the mothers of Australian stand-up. So appropriately, with her latest offering, Mother Bare, the veteran comedienne finds herself treading familiar territory, exploring the ups and downs of motherhood.

Weaving personal tales about smoking nurses to a cringe worthy account of a rough gig in Paramattta, Scott wields enough warmth to make you feel as if you’re in her backyard having a chardy. A master storyteller, Scott is at her best spinning yarns, building long set-ups before delivering the crushing (and often quite profane) coup de grace. Her interactions with the audience produce mixed results as she banters with three generations of a family in the front row and a friendly gay couple from Sydney. However the biggest laughs are reserved for when Scott discovers a woman with the same gynaecologist as her (the unfortunately named Dr. Pill!) Sprinkled amid the generous smattering of uterus and breastfeeding gags, are moments of genuine sad poignancy that made for a well-weighted set across the quite lengthy ninety minutes. Don’t be surprised if you hear your heart breaking upon hearing how Scott wasn’t able to afford to go to Edinburgh with her original comedy quartet (who later re-emerged as a trio.) Through these gentle touches, we get the impression that the bad mother of Australian comedy isn’t so bad.

Early in the show, Scott talks a bit about her past performing as a clown and it seems that for all the unpleasant moments, clowning around has been a talent Scott has always come back to (albeit swapping the big-top for the swanky surrounds of the Art Centre’s Fairfax Studio.) Across more than two decades, Scott has become one of the veterans of Australian comedy and this mother bear is still showing the kids how it’s done…

 

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