Fiona O’loughlin took to the stage at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre in what she prescribed to be the last performance of her current routine Gap Year. She is obviously aware that her reputation precedes her, but Fiona almost wears this as a badge of honour as she stands centre stage with a grin stretching from ear to ear. With all she has been through in recent years it would be most definitely be a case of “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” as she trawls through a range of topics generally considered too taboo to discuss amongst friends, let alone before a sold out audience of thousands.
O’loughlin manages to find a brighter side to situations from her extremely turbulent life, broaching darker topics such as alcoholism, homelessness, unemployment, racism and mental health. She is upfront and forthright as she confronts these situations, even detailing the time where her life hung in the balance as she lay in a coma with organ failure. She admits she was an alcoholic, she admits she was an arsehole… even coining the term for her frame of mind at the time as an “Arseaholic”.
On the surface there is some amusing anecdotes and gut-busting laughs, but under the surface there is a deeper message regarding one woman’s struggles and apparent victory against inner demons. She seems to have come out the other side relatively unscathed, even if (as doctors put it) she only had a 7% chance of maintaining a “normal” life. In all of the darkness, O’loughlin has managed to piece together a performance which some will find inspirational, some will find hilarious, and others a combination of both.
Fringe Review By Lindsay Bulach