Local, award-winning comedienne and now self-help educator, Maggie Wood, combines her two areas of expertise into an enjoyable Fringe stand up show that explores the art of finding happiness.
She shares her personal history through stories and song to demonstrate American psychologist Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, a five-step guide to well-being and happiness, comprising Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.
With each step of the model, Wood reveals more of herself, from growing up in Scotland to working through a divorce and the death of her mother. While there are laughs aplenty, Wood doesn’t shy away from those powerful, reflective moments that give the show a nice ebb and flow, particularly as she avoids wallowing in sentimentality.
There’s a nice pace to her storytelling and a relaxed style that feels more like listening in on a friend. Wood is personable and jovial, laughing at herself as much as her own spotted history of country dances, migration, online dating and self-discovery.
If there’s one fault with the show, it’s how easy it is to be absorbed by her stories and forget the lesson she’s trying to teach. This may sound like a compliment and, to an extent, it is, however with an expectation of learning some secrets to self-improvement, Wood’s affability does work against the show in this instance, adding a tinge of disappointment to the overall event. Enjoyable as it is, it’s more cabaret storytelling than little life lessons. Perhaps a longer session with some interactivity would have met expectations better.
Nonetheless, there are lessons to be had and those listening intently can find practical lessons from the stories told for each PERMA step. If not, the charm of the host ensures a good time regardless
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: The Maid Hotel, 1 Magill Rd, Stepney
Season: 2 – 16 March 2014 (Sundays only)
Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $23 All tickets
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255