Review: Baby Beryl – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022 (VIC)

Written and performed by Steph Tisdell

Review by Justin Clarke

Rising star Steph Tisdell gives audiences an hour of comedic joy that will have you pondering the human condition, learning about new sexual kinks, witnessing Oprah style interviews, and forever keeping out an eye out for anyone named Beryl.

When writing this piece, I thought I knew how to dissect a comedy performance. That was until I sat down face to face with Steph Tisdell. A bare set of only two chairs, a drawing pad, a Dare Iced Coffee and a sign reading “this is a sign”, showed me that this was going to be no ordinary hour of comedy.

With bare feet, an infectious laugh, and a personality you can’t help but fall in love with, Tisdell entered the room in a loud aqua t-shirt that “made her look like water”. If you were in the front row, you’d spot the band-aid on her foot, which had the unfortunately hilarious backstory that she stepped on an allen key and now has a straighter posture.

Tisdell offers a relaxed atmosphere where her audience can rebut, heckle, question, and offer their own stories. She leaps from subjects both chaotic and cathartic, from her Nan’s death to vampire parrots and eventually learning the meaning of the fetish of sounding. Her purposefully unstructured and improvised show means that no two are the same from audience to audience.

Part of Tisdell’s act was her insatiable desire to be her own Oprah, interviewing guests from her audience for their stories. This offered up Dan the Doctor (“of all the jobs to have”) which took the performance on a journey of discussion in medicine, being the favourite child, things getting found in places they shouldn’t be, and the message that women really should just learn to fart in front of their boyfriends for medical purposes!

Tisdell’s pure laid-back joy in making people laugh was an absolute delight. The only criticism I really had was that opening the show up to audiences allowed for interjections and comments when I wanted to see Tisdell do her thing.

If you feel like taking a detour from the rigid routines of comedians, Steph Tisdell has you covered. If you ever see her in the street, give her a small of pile of finely eroded rocks, she will love you for life – and if you don’t get this reference, you need to see Tisdell explain it herself!

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Baby Beryl plays at the Cloak Room, Melbourne Town Hall until 24 April. Find tickets from $25 – $35 here.

Follow Steph Tisdell on Instagram @stephtisdellcomedy. Catch her at Blackout Comedy and with the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars at the Brisbane Comedy Festival from May 7 – 8.

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