At the Arkaba Hotel, Friday 26 July 2019
One of Fiona O’Loughlin’s most famous (notorious) routines has her recounting a typical Friday afternoon, picking the kids up from school and then home, via a detour to the drive- through at Liquorland (“It’s Mummy’s time now.”) She spoke of leaving the youngest behind by mistake, and not returning to collect him (“how would that look?”). The bit concluded with a wistful reference to sometimes seeing the little tacker at the wine emporium, complete with his specially-fitted Liquorland shirt.
Several years on, and O’Loughlin’s act is not much changed – she is still the go-to stand-up for the dark-everyday, the Goddess of Small Things. And she is still one of the best in the business – a winsome delivery, deadly timing, and she’s clearly hard as nails. (You can take the Girl out of Warooka, but you can’t take Warooka* out of the Girl).
Her legendary struggle with alcohol (she came damn close to checking out several times due to the booze) features here heavily but not oppressively. We learn about her having to live with Mum and Dad (when aged 52) after release from the snake pit, but O’Loughlin roamed far and wide beyond, in family and life matters, so smoothly and easily that while the audience followed every hilarious line, only at the end did one realise the consummate skill, and sheer warmth and geniality, with which they had been delivered.