Tamsyn Kelly is someone of many talents. A drag artist, a director of critically acclaimed shows, and in her new show, Petroc, an incredibly likeable and intelligent comedian. Kelly’s second full length show, since her debut piece ‘You’re Welcome’ at the 2018 Fringe, which is named after her grandfather, Patrick, wakes up a cold, damp audience at the ‘Just Up the Road’ room at Just the Tonic with charmingly and brutally honest anecdotes about growing up on a working class estate with a disabled mother and dangerous Father as well as one of the most impressive and surprisingly moving finales to a comedy set I have seen in a while (no spoilers, obvs.)

It feels insulting to say this about someone who has clearly spent a long time honing their craft and sculpting their act into something that is unequivocally and unapologetically them, but Kelly’s act shows a great deal of potential. The story she tells and morals she clung onto all of her life are examples of finding blissful joy in such dark areas. As well as this, there are quips and jokes in this show that showcase Kelly’s undeniable cleverness and storytelling talent, that is quite difficult to find nowadays.

Kelly’s delivery could be pinned as the thing that hinders Petroc. The transitions from the more lighthearted anecdotes to the brutal punchlines regarding her physically abusive Father pack the punch of shock humour, but not the humour itself and land awkwardly. As well as this, certain anecdotes are just total misses, specifically the story of the ‘gang’ she was in as a child known as the ‘wolf gang’, which made for nice storytelling, but I’m assuming not the only reaction she was going for.

Honestly the most impressive and funny thing about Kelly’s hour is how she reacts in the face of adversity, both in her life stories and the events that transpired in that specific hour. Her confidence never withered when an audience member left, instead she used it to her advantage. The highlight of the entire set, hilariously, was her reactions and solutions to the constant technical difficulties, that humanised both her and her set, somehow making it actually more enjoyable and relaxed.

Tamsyn Kelly is definitely someone to watch in the stand-up circuit, and she’s only going to get funnier, smarter and even more brilliantly brutal. It’s just a shame it’s not quite there yet, but if she keeps attacking it with the same determination and drive, it’s going to be there soon and it’s going to be a hit.


Review Date
Reviewed Item
Tamsyn Kelly: Petroc at Just The Tonic
Author Rating
I believe any piece of theatre, regardless of form, style or genre should be able to teach or make the audience feel something new. That is the true meaning of theatre to me, and I plan to take every opportunity to learn and feel that I can.


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