By Liam Shand Egan
Back from a long hiatus, and eager to return to the stage, Beth McMullen restarted her one-woman show ‘Why Am I Still Single’ this week at the new Giant Dwarf theatre. While it was sad that the amazing stage that the Sydney comedy scene had come to know and love was no longer useable, it was wonderful to enjoy any sort of live performance where we didn’t have to pray that the NBN would hold up. That’s right, I saw LIVE THEATRE IN 2020 and it’s thanks to Beth McMullen that I could. The show’s staging is simple, just a hilarious woman on stage talking about her dating life over what feels like many years. She is effortlessly charming and clearly as happy to talk to us as we were to listen. Avoiding spoilers is key for this show as she does use knee-jerk humour at times to really get the audience going, which we did. That being said, the front row was full of repeat attendees from the before-fore times and they were dying too. The show is also littered with musical numbers, both original and covers which are performed by McMullen in combination with the incredibly talented Marissa Saroca on keys. I don’t think I’ve been more impressed with a voice coming from someone with a ‘Peg-Gunt’ around them. Finally, the closing number left us all with our jaws on the floor, admiring her honesty and musical talent.
The content of Beth’s performance follows her psychology and exploration of her newly found single life. The show is incredibly cathartic as Beth spares no detail in how breakups and wading through the shallow end of the dating pool can take a toll on your psyche and self-worth. That being said, there is triumph in this show with amazing hilarity and good chuckles at the expense of some proper assholes. If, like me, you have spent this past 8 months single and stress-adopting cats who were smaller in the picture, this is the show for you.
However, I must address my one small issue with the show. This will be the case with a lot of comics, cabarets and theatre for the next month or two but the lack of polish to the show was noticeable. Almost a full year without a real audience left the show a bit long and Beth McMullen would forget her place in a show that seemed to have been planned extensively in previous iterations. That being said, with practice, the show will tighten up and shine as another gem of whatever festival season comes up next year. It also goes to show how charming and likeable our host is that I never lost patience with the stops but held my breath for the next part of her odyssey. This show is all about Beth and she delivers every line with an underdog spirit. ‘Why Am I Still Single’ is the kind of show I didn’t think I’d see for a while: high energy, hilarious and incredibly revealing. I honestly can’t think of a show that does what this does while also thoroughly dispelling any preconceived notions I had on the power of Hollywood tape (when you see it, you’ll know). Congratulations to Beth McMullen for being one of the first through the door and giving us an energetic, hilarious and ‘liberated’ glimpse at what our nightlife might be like.