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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Mifsud

Review: Beat - The Anglophone and Other Offensive Instruments - Melbourne Comedy Festival 2014 ★★★★

It’s completely pie in the sky to think that you could move to a foreign country, with intentions of staying long-term, and immediately be embraced as a local. Yet, as demonstrated by ex-pats everywhere, when this desire isn’t satisfied it brings on a certain childish bitterness. Such an experience forms the foundation of Jacqueline Mifsud’s The Anglophone and Other Offensive Instruments Fresh out of high-school French class, a young Mifsud relocated to Paris, hoping to be a fluent-speaking Parisian socialite within days. Of course, things didn’t go as planned and before long she was spending much more time devouring cheese and wine than honing her skills. Fortunately, the theme's specificity meant that Mifsud largely steered clear of ‘us and them’ cultural observations (you know, “In France they do this instead of this” sort of stuff). On the other hand, she was able to conduct a quasi-educational crash course in the many faux pas that naïve English speakers are likely to commit. Every comedy show that’s ever featured a foreign language bit has looked at how a misunderstood homophone can result in an embarrassing social blunder. It might be well-trod territory, but Mifsud’s explanation of her request for lower rent getting confused with a colloquial sex invitation was no less hilarious. It was an exceptionally lively show, and although Mifsud stuck to the narrative, it wasn’t at all prosaic. Throughout, her verbalised self-reflections provided a sense of unrehearsed freshness. While the conclusion wasn’t greatly rewarding, the momentum didn’t slip before getting there. Bravo. BY AUGUSTUS WELBY

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