Review by Carly Fisher
When Diana Nguyen takes to the stage and announces ‘I’ve always wanted to be a pop star,’ instantly you like her. That she backs up this declaration with great lyrics in her original song to introduce her brand new show, Going All In, and an impressive voice, is a major bonus. Whether you’ve seen her work before or this is your first time at one of her shows (as this was for me), I feel you instantly get on board with Nguyen and with that, you just want to see her succeed.
And largely, she does. This charismatic performer has an expert command of crowd work, engaging her audience throughout and playing with them just the right amount. Many of her stories are very relatable, her accent work as she portrays her mother is as spot on as it is hilarious, her storytelling is well paced and simply but importantly for a comedian, she is very funny.
To be very funny when a show is focused on intergenerational trauma is not what everyone would consider an easy task. In fact, when she first introduces her chosen topic, it seems the audience laughs at the idea that this really will be the conversation of this comedy fringe show. But there is no need to worry - Nguyen’s experience (she mentions her 18 years in the industry a few times) is clear and she expertly navigates her way around this big topic with respect but with a bucket load of laughs all the same.
The show has moments that are unnecessarily crude but if you aren’t up for that, fringe comedy is probably not for you anyway. Equally, the show has a healthy dose of self deprecating humour, some great parts about her Asian heritage and stereotypes and lots that I think women, especially, will relate to.
When Nguyen loses her line in the middle of the show, you see exactly what a masterful performer she is. There is nothing more daunting for a performer than that moment when everything seemingly just leaves your brain and you are stuck there in front of an audience and so instantly, my heart sank for her. Quick to her own rescue, Nguyen seemingly only got funnier after what could have been a major set back.
The show covers a lot in an hour and I am sure that it will continue to be refined as Nguyen plays around more and more with which jokes make the Final Cut. Whatever she says though, it is her delivery that makes her so charming and I am sure that it is this delivery, and her personality on display, that has made her a crowd favourite.
So glad I got to finally see Nguyen on stage - I am sure it will not be the last time I do!
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