The perfect is, famously, the enemy of the good. Jacqueline Mifsud’s Perfect is a raucous case study of this premise, thrashed out in the comedian’s singular and electric style. Building on her four previous shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Perfect interrogates modern life, happiness and dating angst, with Mifsud questioning the inhibitions that come home to roost in a person’s early thirties, and tracing her own hang-ups and embarrassments through a series of hilarious relationship vignettes from her early adulthood. If you’re often left wondering at your own self-destructive habits, or why people can’t take good things at face value, this show is well worth your time.
On stage, Mifsud is an energetic and empathetic spirit, tuned in to her audience’s reactions at an almost quantum level. The unusual dimensions of the stage at Globe Alley are harnessed to great effect, as Mifsud ascends and descends anew to punctuate some of the more memorably imperfect stories from her past. Disparate elements of the show’s narrative are held together through Mifsud’s polished comedic style, in which a single punchline can be suddenly buoyed by rapid proliferation of re-interpretations, interjections, rejoinders and call-backs. This polyphonic approach leaves something for everyone – for any given joke, there will be an angle that works, and Mifsud is determined to find it in partnership with her audience. While this style has the potential to disorient the uninitiated, Mifsud’s careful attention to the crowd’s response affords her room to pull back, find the thread of the story and keep everyone cackling along throughout the show.
The net effect of all this is a cracking set from a comic who may not be perfect (re: premise of show), but is preternaturally and indisputably good at putting together a 50 minute comedy show. Fans of up-and-coming Melbourne comics who want to be able to point to someone on the TV and say ‘I saw them before they were famous!’ are advised to get in quick, as Jacqueline Mifsud is liable to break into the big time any second now.
By Mitch Cunningham