There may have been more to leaving her baby in Liquorland than simple absentmindedness. According to Fiona O’Loughlin’s new material, her brain chemistry has much to answer for.
Recent diagnoses of ADD and mild dementia, in addition to the looming arrival of a senior’s card, have given O’Loughlin a great deal to think about. The result is a show so packed with anecdotes from her life and career that it has the feel of an outrageous memoir, albeit one without traditional chronology or narrative arc. But that’s just how her brain works, and when the stories are coming thick and fast, all the audience needs to do is ride the wave.
The element that ties it all together is O’Loughlin’s late-life ADD diagnosis and how many of her riotous life-choices it explains. As she gleefully claims, “nothing is my fault”.
O’Loughlin can find humor in the darkest moments. When it struck her that she’d far rather eat a Toblerone than have an orgasm, she realized she was asexual, and apparently announcing mild dementia when out and about has the upside of being treated like “a bucket-fed calf”.
Tales of growing up in Warooka on the Yorke Peninsula also feature in the new material, including a highlight moment when she describes her family’s system of needing two televisions.
O’Loughlin mines the rich seam of her past with her trademark desert-dry white, and she’s got more material than she can cram into a single set.
While much of this fresh work focuses on looking back through the new lens of ADD, she is also a woman facing the future without flinching. In fact, just the opposite. On the cusp of her sixties, O’Loughlin still has a great deal of living to do and she’s looking forward to taking her place as a modern elder. God help us all!
Fiona O’Loughlin Live is at the Arthur Artbar until March 18, and Fringeland at Prospect on March 4 and March 11.
Read more 2022 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews here†
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.