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Rose Callaghan: No Way Rose review (Melbourne Comedy Festival)

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Rose Callaghan’s third pun-titled show No Way Rose (following Rose before Hoes and Will you Take this Rose?) takes place in the bedroom sized Ladies’ Lounge at the Forum Theatre in Flinders Street. We are jammed in like sardines, but it provides a we’re-all-in-this-together atmosphere.

This is stand-up at its most bare and intimate: a mic, wine glass and a stage barely big enough to lie down down on. The 35 year old Callaghan, (she reminds us of her age regularly through the night), has been doing this for a while now, but still manages to look and sound like something of an ingenue.

Much of this is in how she uses her voice. She is a ‘speaking’ comedian, not one who shouts and screeches through her set. Her voice can be very dry; more of a‘Savvy Blanc’ (her favourite) than a fruity Rose. It’s a great contrast to her material which, at times, is direct and brutal.

Callaghan talks about the modern 35 going on 23 year old’s dilemmas – dating (she has a podcast called Swipe Night), bikini waxes, shit blokes and still living like a student. These are not uncommon themes in comedy but she gives it her own distinctive take. The experiences she lampoons feel like they’re her own, turning the laser on her foibles and failures so we can empathise and mock simultaneously.

She is funny, bright and incisive, cutting through BS and pretence with snappy one-liners and the odd pun. As a local, there are some cracking observations on our fetishistic, arty enclaves in the inner north of Melbourne. She does a fantastic private school girl accent and face that has us rolling around (as much as we can being wedged into this venue).

That’s the show. It’s discursive and meandering like a great chat with your friends at the pub grizzling about their love lives and failures. It’s bare, honest, straightforward comedy with no gimmicks, bells or whistles.

That might be the hardest thing to do in stand-up comedy and Callaghan keeps the room humming solidly for the hour, dealing with a couple of interruptions seamlessly and with good humour.

She’s damn funny. That’s all you need to know. See her.

Rose Callaghan: No Way Rose is at the Forum Ladies’ Lounge until April 22

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