Bec Charlwood – Dirty Girl
Lewd jokes are just the tip of the iceberg in Bec Charlwood’s Dirty Girl.
In her debut solo show, Charlwood fronts the audience with a relaxed but high-energy performance style, delivering stand-up that’s structured in a way that’s both typical to the form and outstanding for its difference.
This is not simply 60 minutes of loosely connected bits with a few call-backs thrown in. Rather, it’s a show that connects personal anecdotes, pop-culture, social commentary, and observational humour within a still larger narrative.
As Charlwood shifts from one topic to another, crafting imagery with a clarity that permeates the room, she plays with her audience’s expectations. Bits escalate to become ludicrous scenes that have the audience in stitches, and punchlines feature a lively mix of word play, simile, and metaphor.
Riffing on family politics and sibling rivalry, Charlwood’s Dirty Girl has plenty of relatable content on offer and certainly doesn’t disappoint in its capacity to turn many a topic blue. There are also some particularly choice moments in which Charlwood bursts into song, building to an utterly hilarious punchline no one could anticipate.
Charlwood’s ability to bring a scene to life, extending beyond the limitations of a straightforward anecdote, is a highlight. We’re not simply watching someone stand and speak into a microphone, we’re sitting amongst a family at Christmas, we’re envisioning biology as something entirely divergent, we’re hearing the roar of innumerable cheering voices.
While there are many strong points to this show, and Charlwood’s genuine rapport with her audience held our attention, there were a couple jokes that didn’t quite land for Perth’s opening night crowd. It’s unfortunate, because this is clearly quality material that’s important to the show’s structure—undoubtably sure to hit the mark for audiences in other locations.
Nevertheless, Dirty Girl is a rollicking show with Charlwood’s intensely energetic delivery keeping us engaged regardless of some content not landing.