If there is one word to best describe Kitty Flanagan’s dynamic stage presence on her opening night at the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it would be '"unflappable".
Not even four empty seats front and centre at The Arts Centre's otherwise packed Playhouse could unnerve the local veteran performer. In fact, Flanagan spontaneously created an involving pre – show theory as to why these particular chairs were left vacant.
This juncture alone was worthy of the admission price, in that punters got to see her razor sharp mind immediately snap into action.
Setting the tone for what was to come, if nothing else the impromptu bit outlined why she is one of Australia’s best – loved stand – up icons. Such moments were exactly what fans had eagerly come to see.
Known for her wry cultural observations and detailed character studies, two of Flanagan’s previous shows (Charming & Alarming and Hello Kitty Flanagan) addressed topics such as beverage etiquette in the bathroom, what makes a woman the crazy cat lady, is burlesque just stripping plus a touch of craft, French mime, the glaring differences between teenage and Toorak mums, senior citizens’ golfing habits, and rambling old ladies.
Viewers expecting more of her social target practice won’t be disappointed.
For example, Flanagan’s analysis of the difference between dog and cat owners (and how to spot them) was a highlight. Another stand out segment was about how to safely handle a visit to the doctor, especially when it involved talking about one’s private parts. In a later story, Flanagan also questioned why newsreaders always spoke with a stock monotone voice, and having worked on Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’, she happily blew that illusion right out of the water.
Showcasing completely fresh laugh – out – loud material, the comic's new act uses her failed relationships as its central theme. In light of her reputation, it is both fascinating and unexpected to see Flanagan turn the tables on herself.
At approximately 70 minutes in length, Seriously is a giant grab – bag filled with enough awkward tales and embarrassing dating moments to keep any audience chuckling and applauding with knowing recognition non – stop.
Apparently, one of her former boyfriends was a cop, and it was a delight to see Flanagan hit ‘police speak’ on the head. Other ex – partners included a gravedigger (who lived in a caravan on site) and a love – struck Cuban playboy. The comedy gold flies thick and fast.
Reinforcing that she is a single forty – five year old without kids, Flanagan wrapped up her show with a knockout song. Joined on staged by her sister, Penny, (who accompanied the pair on guitar), together, they closed with a whip smart ode to women out there in the same boat called “Middle Aged Lady”.
It was the perfect icing on top of a very satisfying cake.