Melanie Bracewell is probably best known to Australian audiences through her appearances on Channel 10’s Have You Been Paying Attention where she’s proved herself to be a warm and spontaneous comedian with excellent improv skills. However, we’ve yet to see a lot of other work from the young New Zealander on our shores, so her appearance at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival is an excellent opportunity to see what her more formally prepared work is like.
Pleasingly, Bracewell’s stage persona is as sincere and welcoming as what we’ve seen on the small screen. Reflective of her youth, much of her routine is about being single and part of the dating scene. The difficulty of being 6’1” tall woman and finding guys that aren’t intimidated by her height, or simply taking advantage of short guys by hiding things from them on tall objects. It also means her references are reflective of a 23 year old’s pop culture touchstones. If you only have a passing knowledge of Kiwi pop star Lorde and the details of her musical works, you’d best do some study in order to ‘get’ the many references in the first part of this show.
Much of the rest of her routine is more universally relevant however and there are more than a few ‘big laugh’ moments studded amongst her charming storytelling style. A Melbourne audience during the festival can be intimidating; there are plenty of shows to see of really high quality that can have great comedians fading amongst the noise. But this doesn’t seem to be daunting Bracewell, who’s taking the leap from big fish, small pond to swimming amongst the sharks in her stride.
We Aussies love the humour of our Kiwi buddies and Bracewell is proving to be just as loveable as our other NZ favourites.