Beth Stelling JFL42, Royal Theatre, Toronto ON, September 27

Beth Stelling JFL42, Royal Theatre, Toronto ON, September 27

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A gifted comedian, Beth Stelling experimented with a good chunk of new material during her early JFL42 show and the result was an uneven set. How uneven was it? She did that thing where you draw attention to how uneven your new material is.
 
Stelling often peppered fresh jokes with an acknowledgment that their punch lines needed work. Because she has a practiced confidence, she could segue out of such moments with a physical flourish, using her body to build momentum for her next bits, which were written on a nearby notepad.
 
When she shone, it was because her A material is untouchable. The stories about her weight gain, her divorced parents, her actor father and her ex-boyfriend Nick all landed easily. But most of this was on the backend of a lopsided, process-oriented set that was loose and often on the brink of completely unravelling.