Review: Pop-Culture-y - Be Better! - MICF 2018
BY TIL KNOWLES
Jacqueline Mifsud wants you to be better. Her second solo Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Be Better, seeks to motivate you to do just that. Built from stories from Mifsud’s own life, the comedian uses her own frustrations and insights to build a positive, high energy show about turning everyday anxiety into necessary growth. It’s the thematic and emotional sequel to last year’s Sink Full of Forks, in which Mifsud discussed her experiences with mental ill health and the need to keep striving for your goals.
Mifsud’s relationship with her family, particularly with her mother, is a central narrative driver of the show. From jokes about her Maltese heritage to the commentary of her therapist, Mifsud pulls at these relationships to reveal their complexity and demonstrate how love, frustration, and control can all boil over into 50 minutes of excellent comedy. Mifsud shows that it’s possible to be a relatable comedian without falling into superficial observation or deep vulnerability, and that a desire for self-improvement and the betterment of others can be funny too.
A traditional stand up, Mifsud isn’t afraid to make the most of her small stage and the historic rooms of Tasma Terrace. Her performance has the style and physicality of a seasoned comic. Her every move seems precise yet spontaneous, planned to induce the biggest laugh possible. Her commitment and confidence help lift the few moments of the show that drag, soothing the audience by proving again and again that Mifsud knows what she’s doing, even when she whispers to herself that she doesn’t.
Be Better feels like comedic tough love, as Mifsud stares down the audience, daring them to try harder and laugh more. Whether you want to give yourself another reason to try harder, or whether you’re just after a night of confident comedy, it’s worth seeing Be Better this Melbourne International Comedy Festival.