Review by Alison Stoddart
In the small, undressed space of the Workshop Theatre at the Factory, Kelly Mac performed her show, Wrong Side of 50 to an enthusiastic audience who were a pleasingly range of ages. A fact that Kelly quickly made use of with her deep dive into generational angst. From the smug ‘hard work ethic achieves everything’ ideals of Boomers, to the collective guilt of climate angst of Gen X, and the homeowner despair of Gen Y.
An accomplished performer, Kelly’s solo show explores the world of the middle-aged. She interacts with her audience nicely without making them the focus of the show and implements the highly effective tactic of pushing a joke further than thought possible.
Some of her laugh out loud asides include a perceptive assault on insular NSW (Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong) and her description of the stages of mental health as ‘fair’ to ‘middling’ to ‘tasered’. She captures the zeitgeist of the room with jokes touching on Barbie, bogans, and dealing with elderly parents who just won’t die. Amusingly she delivers lines tongue in cheek but takes this approach a step further with a literally pushing out of her left cheek with her tongue, something she draws attention to with a cheeky smile.
Kelly Mac is a competently prepared and rehearsed performer who has taken time and care with her setting up and delivery of her punchlines. At various stages though she could have explored and extended her jokes to create a narrative arc. Clever writing, combined with timing, facial expression and body language will always be a winner and by getting inside our heads she can engender trust and create humour by voicing what we are all thinking. In this way she needs to manipulate her audience.
At one point in the show Kelly comments on how she felt ‘seen’ and the delight she took in that. With her lively and impudent demeanour and her raucous delivery its undoubtable that she was seen by her audience.