I’d never been enticed by terrible dancing before I saw Celia Pacquola. Sharing her top tips as to how to win the game Ugly Dance Moves, Pacquola establishes a charmingly silly, playful tone. She maintains this throughout the show, even when her material centres on less superficial topics. It’s a delight to watch.
An Australian who has lived in Britain for two years, Pacquola does some lovely observational gags about the transition across continents. She riffs, for example, on why Tiger Airlines is a poor choice of name, and the immense power wielded by flight attendants. Her unselfconscious girlishness also allows content that might seem crude from someone else to be appealingly cheeky. The slightly ruder content even provokes a little giggle of excitement from her. She is, for example, visibly tickled by the phrase ‘shit hatch’. A little too much, perhaps. Not that there is anything smug about this amusement - it’s mainly endearing.
Her schtick about sustaining a long distance relationship is also nicely judged. Frank rather than whiny, Pacquola isn’t looking for sympathy votes. This, of course, makes her much easier to sympathise with. She also varies the pace - at one point launching into a brilliantly unexpected burst of intense self-analysis, sparked by the comment that some fathers prefer their dogs to their children. I would in fact have liked more moments like these - moments where Pacquola showed herself to be more than just a talented observational comedian.
Pacquola’s comedy is imaginative, clever and silly simultaneously. With her wide grin and open face, she seems thrilled to be able to share it with us. I thoroughly recommend seeing her.