Celia Pacquola has made a name for herself on shows like Utopia as an effortlessly likeable presence. Her Sydney Festival show in the Spiegeltent provides further evidence: it’s amiable and amusing, though it provokes more smiles of recognition than real belly laughs.

Pacquola began her stage career in 2006, and that experience shows in The Looking Glass, a slick package in which the comic weaves autobiographical anecdotes about dating misadventures with a charming analysis of her own performance and a disquisition on the similarity between children and vibrators – once you’re in your 30s, nobody can believe you don’t have one.


Pacquola showed herself to be a gifted dramatic actress on the ABC’s The Beautiful Lie in 2015, but any inner darkness is kept well and truly at bay throughout this bile-free set, which bubbles along good-naturedly without ever really working up to much of a crescendo. Opening night is packed with older punters, perhaps lured by the chance to see the star of Rosehaven in the flesh, and no doubt they leave as charmed as ever.


The set’s best moment, however, is when Pacquola skewers the conservatism of their expectations by revealing she has met a man and it’s going really well. The audience members coo contentedly before realising they’ve been had, though nobody seems to mind. Bring on Rosehaven season two.


Photo: Jamie Williams

Celia Pacquola was reviewed at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on Tuesday January 17 as part of Sydney Festival 2017.

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