REVIEW: Donna Brookbanks: Cat Lady in Waiting (NZ International Comedy Festival)

Review by Rachael Longshaw-Park

Donna Brookbanks

[The Cats can Wait]

The room is dimly lit, the stage is set, and a spinning spinster welcomes in the audience with the constant whirring of her string. Her hunched over frame emits pleasantries as the audience take their seats leaving them to wonder where this is going, where is our star? But just jokes! Brookbanks has fooled you all, it was her all along! Ho, ho, ha, ha! Donna Brookbanks emerges and slips into her delightful mix of physical comedy and awkwardly honest stand up that keeps the audience giggling throughout the next 50 minutes.

If the title and poster had raised your hopes for a cat-filled evening then you might be disappointed. Brookbanks has only acquired one feline so far, and she doesn’t make a cameo. Furry friends, however, aren’t needed to keep the audience engaged. The show has a loose format that flirts with physical comedy in the skits that are peppered throughout the performance. Brookbanks’ ability to tell a story through her facials alone is an unmissable talent that carries the slightly bizarre yet complimentary segues.

Her stand up follows her life as a single 33-year-old who seems to be constantly challenged about her relationship status (or lack thereof), whether by clueless older men or her own grandmother. Brookbanks retells her experiences with charm and wit. Her self-deprecating humour comes full circle towards the end when she symbolically flips off the ex who “dumped her whilst she was wearing a wetsuit” with a sassy final number.

Donna Brookbanks is a fine performer and an endearing comedian. A joy to watch and the kind of personality you need in your life.

Donna Brookbanks performs at The Basement until 13 May. Details see Comedy Festival

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