When the comedian greets the audience at the stage door dressed in a giant black robe, it's a sure-fire sign that the impending performance is going to be a touch on the different side.
It's a pretty fitting opening, as Donna Brookbanks new comedy festival show, You Do You Babes, is all about embracing your differences. The Billy T nominated show is as much an inspirational hour about being your best self, even if that self is a tad awkward and messy and dysfunctional, as it is a wacky and witty good time.
Brookbanks is best known as the security guard who appears during Funny Girls' transition scenes, but her show proves her talent and potential goes beyond those little snippets. Like many of her contemporaries, she has found a vocation in combining sketch and stand up to create a largely solid hour of comedy that allows both those styles to flourish.
The show is full of hilarious scenelets, including a recurring gag about her missing pants, and great jokes that feel true to all the awkward people out there. Some sketches fall a little flat, mainly the ones parodying reality shows, yet Brookbanks purposefully awkward delivery gets a laugh out of you anyway.
The show is so masterfully crafted you can't quite work out how much it is planned and what is just being concocted on the spot. Issues with the sound and resulting tension with the technical producer is presented as unplanned, and potentially is, but Brookbanks' high energy and enthusiastic commitment means it all works so well together regardless.
You Do You Babes ends poignantly if tonally off to the rest of the show, but all the awkwardness during the hour fits with the theme and suits Brookbanks perfectly, and earmarks her for bigger things to come once her shows run a little more smoothly.
Who: Donna Brookbanks, You Do You Babes
Where: The Basement Theatre, 7:15pm
When: Until May 19