Review: Effie @ Sydney Comedy Festival 2024

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Fans have known for more than 35 years that Effie loves herself.

The Greek-Australian goddess once wrote a subtle book, 'Effie’s Guide To Being Up Yourself'. She now stars in a stand-up show that is cut from the same cloth, 'Upyourselfness', which is both familiar and fun with its gags and humour, which some people will find a real joy in.

The character, Effie, is the much-beloved alter-ego of comedian and writer, Mary Coustas. Many people were introduced to this big-mouthed hairdresser on 'Acropolis Now' or in various stage and TV shows over the years. With more than three decades sparkling away in sequins, Effie could have become a tired caricature trading on her former glories, but this show proves that the exact opposite is true. In 'Upyourselfness', Coustas brings out a mature side to Effie: being candid about having to think twice before she speaks and making us all think about political correctness and 'woke' culture.

Effie is all about being relatable and remaining true to yourself. She celebrates every one of her contradictions while asking us to embrace these same things about ourselves. She makes some very good points and still looks like a fabulous lady in red with her advanced hair, yeah yeah!

The show is a mostly scripted one, but Effie still has moments where she can bust out some moves, just like she did on 'Dancing With The Stars'. The script is peppered with anecdotes about Effie getting kicked out of school and her love for her husband, Shane Bradley Cooper. There is also time to talk about one specific family member with a peculiar penchant. It is clear from all this, that Effie continues to speak her mind, come what may. She also does this in an articulate and clever way, even when she speaks to all ‘youse’ about things like her ‘hairs’.

'Upyourselfness' is a show that proves that Effie knows both who she is and where she has come from. It also shows that she can still relate to her audiences with her big hair and even larger heart. Effie remains an enjoyable and entertaining comedian because she connects to people with something that is both authentic and funny. Effie reminds us that she is so much more than a great big boofhead, and that she still has lots more to say to us.

Words: Natalie Salvo

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