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Review: Lisa Sharpe: Off My Chest at Theory Bar - MICF

Review by Jesse Oey

I’d like to begin this review by saying that, up until now, I had never put that much thought into the state of my – or anyone else’s – décolletage.

But, after seeing Lisa Sharpe’s one-woman comedy show, ‘Off My Chest’, I couldn’t help but feel amused by how she has masterfully woven this often-overlooked section of the upper torso into the centre of her show’s narrative.

Showing at the renowned Theory Bar as part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, ‘Off My Chest’ presents Lisa Sharpe in her comfort zone, combining light-hearted storytelling with low-key, self-deprecating anecdotes about her life.

From the moment Sharpe waltzed in with a cheerful jig, her subdued voice and gentle delivery drew me in. As it turned out, she did have quite a few things to get off her chest, indeed.

In addition to copious references of the aforementioned body part, Sharpe serenaded the audience with hilarious tales of dysfunctional family gatherings with insufferable relatives, visits to beauty clinics (which included conversations about reversing sun damage on one’s décolletage), and the many pitfalls of stand-up paddleboarding.

Central to Sharpe’s comedic timing is her penchant for vividly recounting trivial stories about life’s many mundanities that amuse and entertain without relying too much on predictable punchlines. 

The characters that feature her anecdotes are enjoyable and easily relatable - we’ve all come across a frustrated male tradie in a ute, a passive-aggressive retail worker, or a #blessed faux-hippie parent naming their kid a conspicuous food item like Coriander (this one really made me chortle!). 

“Tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Sharpe genially mused partway through the show, and to me this was the true essence of why ‘Off My Chest’ resonated so pertinently.

The design of her show is anchored on a few underlying themes (a forgotten Sodastream, musings about Byron Bay, her upcoming nuptials), made cohesive by her frequent callbacks to them, rewarding attentive audience members with bright moments of recognition, and reminding them to stay alert.

Amongst the plethora of short-and-sharp, repetitive visual comedy that’s now ubiquitously accessible through social media, Lisa Sharpe’s 50-minute set, well-crafted and richly told, was a breath of fresh air. I genuinely enjoyed sitting down and listening to her laid-back retelling of daily life’s comical struggles.

An overall pleasant showing by a gifted storyteller.

Image Supplied


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