29 April 2012

April review previews

Review: The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute
Opera Australia
21 April 2012
The State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne
to May 12

In 2005, the New York Metropolitan Opera created an abridged family-friendly version of Mozart and Schnikeneder's  The Magic Flute. Heading the creative team was Julie Taymor, Tony-winner for her direction of the uber-gorgerous stage production of The Lion King, and the result is as magical as Mozart could ever have imagined with flying bird puppets that sweep across the audience, Ladies with floating heads,  adorable giant dancing bears and intimidating fire-faced priests

Having loved The Lion King and Taymor's film work, my expectations for this production were high; especially as there is no reason why the Opera Australia production shouldn't be as wonderful as anything at The Met.

Introducing opera to children; introducing opera to anyone is brilliant, and will create a fan for life if that first experience is a great one. As this production was conceived for children, it was wonderful to see people much younger than me in audience.  Not only are they better behaved than many dragged-along partners, but they get it; they accept worlds where people sing and magic is natural and don't roll their eyes because they can hear the set being moved.

Taymor knows that best children's theatre is just as much for grown ups and never cuts a corner or assumes that young minds aren't smart, but OA hasn't quite got the the balance. There seems a reluctance to let go and really have fun in case the opera-buff adults get upset.

Directed by Matthew Barclay, this production proves the magic of the original, but it seemed to rely on the impact of the colourful, Wicca-meets-Meccano design (George Tsypin, Michael Curry and Taymor), instead of finding its own way and ensuring that story and character are always at the forefront. No matter how amazing a costume is, it needs a solid character to make it live – even a non-moving chorister. And even if the plot is still a bit contrived, it's story that makes us want to know what happens next and cheer when love is found.

For all its magical hijinks, The Magic Flute is a story about grief and lost love, with attempted suicides, torture and huge dilemmas. Of course it can be played for fun (which its new rhyme-infested translation begs for), but needs a consistent tone. It can be an outrageous hoot or as a fear-filled quest, but when the tone changes from scene to scene, it's hard to know what to feel and the production becomes an expensive concert version, rather than an unmissable story.

Which leaves the music. The fun, passion and fearless bravado of Mozart's music will continue to create opera fans for millennia. With conductor Adam Chalabi, Orchestra Victoria bring life to the cavernous theatre, Taryn Fiebig's crystal voice shone as Pamina, the three Ladies were delightful and Andrew Jones was rightly the audience favourite with his lusty earthy (and oddly Ocker) Papageno. However the men's voices suffered from the sound-sucking nature of the State Theatre, the chorus didn't seem that interested in being there and the Queen of The Night had a night I suspect she'd rather forget.

The Magic Flute is as much for children as anyone. If I could introduce anyone to opera, this is where I'd start. I just wish that this production would stop worrying about appealing to everyone and concentrate on the pure joy of telling this story of magic and love.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

Photo by Jeff Busby

28 April 2012

Last chance for Theatre Exchange program

Watching something in a different language can be alienating or liberating.

Local company Eagle's Nest Theatre have been collaborating with Theater in der Westentasche from Ulm in Germany and are presenting the company in Melbourne this weekend.

Last night I saw the astonishing Thomas Dentler perform Heinrich Böll's 1963 novel Ansichten eines Clowns (The Clown).

With no more German than counting to 10 (make that 5...), I was hesitant (even with the promise of some translation), but us writers have to let go of our dependence on words.

With a stunning use of the warehouse space at Revolt, it was a performance I won't forget. Without language, the emotional tone of a performance is all there is – and it was more than enough to bring me through his story. Based on the reaction of the German speakers around me, the words were pretty good too.

Without the language, I feel inadequate to comment, but this is what Eagle's Nests James Adler had to say late last night on Facebook.

"Today was one of the greatest experiences of my short creative life – watching Herr Dentler perform tonight was the first timeI have ever imagined wanting to apprentice myself to someone – and I mean in the real old fahion way where you learn the form your master has performed and don't change it – you perfect the form as it was exactly and then one day maybe you add the tinniest detail before passing it on to the next generation."

Sadly, this was a one-night-only chance BUT, tonight they are presenting two world premieres:

Dialog with Buñuel by Federico Garcia Lorca. The text is a homage to Lorca´s friends like  Dalí, Buñuel, Centeno and Alberti.

Chernobyl  by Annette Neulist, a German writer and senator. The reading will include live music by Nela Trifovic.

There's more info here.

A version of this appears on AussieTheatre.com

27 April 2012

Declan Greene wins Max Afford Award

I know that Declan Greene's writing is bloody wonderful, but I can't give him $10k and a spot in PlayWriting Australia’s National Script Workshop.

But the Trust Company can and he's been awarded the Max Afford Playwrights' Award for Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography.

Late last year, local wonders MKA gave us a reading of Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography (with Scott Gooding and can someone please tell me the name of the other actor). It hurt to watch as it was so-close-to-middle-age-reality that laughing was the only way to cope with its glorious cruelty. His two desperate characters are impossible to love and their banter makes Whose Afraid Of Virgina Wolf  look like an episode of Friends. It was my favourite new script from last year. I even paid $7 to see it!

And MKA are including it in their Berlin series of readings. It's not the name of the series; they are going to Berlin. I am jealous.

I can't wait to see what it becomes after the Berlin reading and the workshop. Dec, I still think you can go further and be meaner. Don't let anyone tell you to be softer.

Declan and me discussing the politics of art appreciation.

24 April 2012

MICF review: The Pajama Men

In the Middle of No One
The Pajama Men
18 April 2012
Princess Theatre
to 21 April
What's worse than being the only person in a room laughing? Being the only one not laughing – and not knowing why the rest of the theatre is cacking itself.

The Pajama Men are slick and skilled and charming in a nerdy way, have won a stack of international awards and have mobs of adoring fans all over the place.  In the Middle of No One is a series of sketches (filled with jokes but no pay off) that are finally linked with some neat story telling at the end. The two pj-clad men play every part. 

I glare at people who dare to talk in the theatre but I broke my own rule (and we were in mostly empty row) as my date asked, "Why are they laughing?". All I could say was, "I don't know".

Are silly voices and silly walks really the way to fill a theatre? There were more people at this show than see amazing local shows that run all festival.  What continued to leave me slack jawed was that the biggest laughs came from the voices impersonating silly people with silly accents – with no reason for the accent apart from it sounding silly. Foreigners are funny. And effeminate foreigners even more so. But not as funny as dudes pretending to be women with piercing voices and humungous tits, which they call breasts because that's not offensive. And, yes they also play black women who lick each other.

It's a joke woman!!! It's common knowledge that latte-drinking, theatre-going, book-reading (uptight) white chicks don't have a sense of humour, and the proven list of funny things is: non-Aussie accents and attitudes, poofs, lessos, chicks and tits. 

Great comedy can change attitudes by showing the ridiculousness of hate and the fear of difference. When comedy supports these attitudes... 

This show isn't a lefty, hipster, arty show about content, it's about demonstrating the obvious talent of the performers. But there are plenty of talented people out there and I like shows with heart and guts.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

22 April 2012

MICF: The final weekend

With three nights left of the comedy festival, it's time for the die hards to see five shows a night and collapse at 3am in a pool of sweat and vomit in the festival club.

So, I joined a lot of other 40-somethings at a nice civilised 6.00 pm show, grabbed a late-night 7.15 and was a bit too happy to be home by 9.00. Yep, I'm hard core, I might even make a mug of hot chocolate.

There are only two shows left of these, and there's 25 minutes between the end of Tim's and the beginning of Kate's – which makes for an awesome (and early starting) double.

Homeward Bound
Kate McLennan
20 April 2012
Victoria Hotel
to 22 April

I don't think it's possible to see Kate McLennan on stage and not adore her. She's one of the funniest people around and her honest writing proves that the difference between good writing and great writing is how much it comes from the heart.

This style of stand up is different from the character-based comedy seen in earlier festivals, but terrific writers make their lives far more interesting than fiction.

A while back, Kate's was in a relationship; they'd bought Global knives together, so it was serious. But it ended. Being a performer meant that Kate moved back to Geelong with her parents, but how could her broken heart compare to her dad's prostRate cancer and her younger sister's upcoming wedding?

Naturally on her first day back in her teenage bedroom, with her raw heart was pumping pain, her sister took her to a bridal expo, which isn't as painful as the advice from her extended family about how to deal with being 31 and on the shelf.

Using the gorgeous device of letters to her baby niece (nieces and nephews really are brilliant), Kate brings us her family with hilarious observation that's sharper than a Global knife with a love that's its own lifetime guarantee.

PS. Kate, I've never been a bridesmaid!

Carry a Big Stick
Tim Ferguson 
20 April 2012
Melbourne Town Hall
to 22 April

Tim and I are happy to disagree about the role of review and feedback in live performance, but all I need to say is that it was bloody lovely to sit in a room full of people who remember the 80s and the Doug Anthony Allstars juggernaut.

I first say the DAAS in the mid-ish 80s at a drunken lunch time at Adelaide Uni bar (oh how tertiary education had changed). I can't think of anyone who could own a crowd like that now. By the time they were at the 1988 Adelaide Fringe, they were in the biggest rooms and playing the Fringe club late at night. There hadn't been anything like them before. In their ripped military uniforms, they were loud, crude and treated their audience with the kind of disrespect that we wanted more of.

And more we got. Tim, Paul and Richard went on to own the biggest festivals, to fill stadiums and created cult TV with The Big Gig. I adored them, my friends adored them and everyone we knew couldn't get enough of them and we haven't seen comedy rock gods like them since.

Carry a Big Stick is Tim (the tall one) telling his story about this time and what happened after they broke up and why he wishes everyone would stop asking about his MS. If you were a DAAS fan, you don't need the likes of me to tell you that you'll love this hour with Tim.

The last two shows are pretty close to being sold out, but don't let that stop you from trying to get in.

PS. I'm now back in tertiary education and Tim is one of my teachers.

MICF review: Contact!

MICF 2012
Arts Centre Melbourne
11 April
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne
to 22 April

I fell in love with Contact! at the 2011 Carnegie 18, the Arts Centre's new musical series, as did everyone who saw it and its first full production is as awesome as a team trip to Bali after winning a final.

Netball and chamber opera really aren't that far apart. Opera and music express the huge passions that we never share in mere words, and there's little that evokes as much passion as competitive sport.

The characters have sacrificed by not eating chocolate and trimming their nail; the relationships are competitive; the players are territorial; the queen's called Bev, the only prince is Bevan; the stakes are as high as they get (runners up don't play for State) and there's fat moles, stupid bogan and skanks all waiting to sing.

The creative team (composer Angus Grant, Libretto Kate Schmitt and Grant, choreographer Julia Sutherland and costume designer Julia Sutherland) has captured the spirt and urban poetry of netball and let it free in a world where singing is as natural as the harmony on the court and the dissonance of team selection.

And how wonderful to see compositions for young female singers.

This is what I said about the first season and there's not much more to add. I can't wait to see it's next stage of development. (New York Music Theatre Festival?)

This is opera for sport fans and sport for opera fans and so funny that you'll love it even if you're not a fan of either.

Review: Alma Mater

Alma Mater
Fish & Game and Arts House
18 April 2012
Arts house, North Melbourne
to 13 May

We have such intimate relationships with the too-many screens in our lives. I'm not brave enough to try a screen-free day; I even read books on screen. Theatre is one place that they get turned off and we share an experience with a room of people. But Alma Mater claims to be the first iPad theatre and you're handed a screen when you arrive and sent you into a small white room by yourself.

The Arts House program continues to challenge our perceptions of performance and encourages artists to find new ways to reach us. The idea of Alma Mater is that you're looking at the room through the digital screen, like a camera, and move around the room lining the screen up with the room with its white bed and seat. Then as you turn around two pairs of shoes appear on the floor...

I was nervous and expecting something creepy and told myself that I could just look away from the screen if I wanted it to stop. I never did because a gorgeous little girl in a stripey jumpsuit is in the room and looking at me. Over the next 20 minutes, the on-screen room changes as she plays and we see her family and friends as she does in her imagination.

It is a little bit creepy, but all fairy tales should be as they're created in a dark subconscious world where the rules don't apply.

I wonder if taking the story out of the room breaks the illusion, but there wasn't a moment when I wasn't glued to the screen because I didn't want to remember that I was really alone in white box.

Fish & Game are Robert Walton (from Melbourne) and Eilidh MacAskill (from Glasgow), who are based in Scotland.  With original music by John de Simone, performed by Ensemble Thing and Cinematography by Anna Chaney, this is much more than watching a video on YouTube. Being glued to a screen is easy, but this is a much more personal experience. The characters see you and make you react and move, and even as the mere recorder of the girl's story, you become part of it.

Alma Mater takes watching a screen beyond the passive ease of entertainment and into the active world of heart-awakening, brain-engaging art.

It's only 20 minutes and there are performances every ten minutes from 2pm to 9pm (Wednesday to Sunday). There's plenty of parking near the North Melbourne Town Hall or the 57 tram will drop you at the door.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

Review: The Histrionic

The Histrionic
Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company
15 April
Merlyn Theatre
to 5 May

Until I hit Google, I didn't  know about Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard. A quote from the New York Times that his works are "the most significant literary achievement since World War II" crops up a lot. As an over-educated reader, I guess I should know him, but The Histrionic hasn't encouraged me to seek out more Bernhard.

In 1982 Bernhard had a super-hissy when a Saltzburg Festival theatre wouldn't turn off emergency EXIT signs and he cancelled the season because "A society that can't deal with two minutes of darkness can do without my play". He then went all meta and returned to the same theatre with a dark comedy about a living-treasure genius artist performing his greatest work in a town that's more interested in its pigs and sausages – complete with ironic rants about EXIT signs.

I love little more than art and writing, but I care little for self-important art and writers. Even with its satirical guise, The Histrionic is still so close to reality that I didn't care.

Billie Brown joyfully embodies Bruscon, the self-obsessed genius who has to perform even if his cast/ family and audiences don't live up to his standards. In a career-highlight performance, the work is mostly a one-sided conversation with Bruscon and for all its insight and genuine wit, I didn't care if he succeeded, failed or was eaten by the pigs.

I didn't care about the writer or his art because there's nothing he's saying that we don't know.  I know people like Bruscon and his cast and, even with their lost souls and broken hearts, I'm happy to light the way out and live without him.

But what makes this production so intriguing and enjoyable is that director Daniel Schlusser and his wonderful cast make us care for everyone else on the stage. The good-hearted landlord (Barry Otto), his wife (Kelly Butler) and daughter (Katherine Tobkin) and Bruscon's wife (Jennifer Vuletic) and children (Josh Price and Edwina Wren), say little, but great theatre and irresistible performance isn't really about getting the most lines.

As Bruscon pontificates, they accept and suffer in a marvellous backstage void filled with saw dust and old props that have been left to decay (designed by Marg Horwell and lit by Paul Jackson). With the likes of huge fruit and veg, a giant hand and massive moose, you can't not laugh at and love the artifice of theatre – and there's the bonus game of "what show is that prop from" (hooray for another appearance of the bi-polar bear).

Schlusser's voice is by far the more interesting one in The Histrionic and he balances the line between self-indulgence and art so deftly that even the likes of Bruscon are forgiven, if not loved.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

19 April 2012

More MICF previews

The highlight of seeing The Pygama Men was helium-filled Dorothy's escape to the Princess roof.

And this dessert.

We all have to have a week or two that just doesn't crack a smile.

Having one coincide with the laughing festival isn't the best idea and I've seen very few shows. But there was running, I have new boots and had a Haigh's chocolate Murray cod, so it aint that bad.

MICF review: ... Plus One

MICF 2012
... Plus One
Mike McLeish and Fiona Harris
7 April 2012
Trades Hall
to 22 April

... Plus One had me at Hootie & The Blowfish and a navy-blue sleeveless floral wrap top with a subtle frill. Hilariously nostalgic and as zeitgeist capturing as a Facebook Instagram album of mock-polaroids of zeitgeists, its interwoven story of old uni friends in their late 30s, original music and terrific performances makes it like The Big Chill for our generation, but much funnier – and no one lost their junk at war.

Fiona Harris (Skithouse, The Librarians, The Circle etc) and Mike McLeish (Keating, Shane Warne: the Musical etc) play six friends who met at uni in the 90s. This was a time when university still meant being in a nearly-popular band, share houses, unrequited love, plenty of sex, and drinking 'til you spewed.

Fast forward to now. There's a mummy blog, rewarding husbands with TV box sets, smart phone addiction, unrequited love, occasional sex, and vegan or goats cheese hors d'oeuvres at an installation opening. And as one friend wants to celebrate their bonds in art and a song (which deserves its own category at the ARIAs), others wonder if there's anything left to drink to.

As Harris and McLeish (yes, the are real-life spouses) morph between characters, it's easy to forget that there can't be a scene with all six, but smart complex writing and tight direction (Kate McLennan) ensure that there's no disappointment. Melding the observation of stand up, the speed-joke of sketch and the satisfying arc of story, each character is instantly recognisable and if there isn't one who's a bit too close for comfort, you'll recognise your parents or your adult children.

 ... Plus One is a brilliant excuse to get together with some of your old friends, especially if you've only seen them on Facebook in the last few years. It left me snorting-out-loud and looking forward to the next round of nostalgia fashion: 90s floral.

MICF review: Candy B

MICF 2012
Candy B, Australian Booty: The Fatty-Boom-Boom Remix
11 April 2012
Red Bennies
to 15 April

Attendance at a Candy B's Australian Booty: The Fatty-Boom-Boom Remix show should be compulsory, as it's impossible to leave without feeling damn hot and wanting to shake your booty all over town.

Ok, so the chances of me shaking my booty are slim (I am an uptight white chick who can't dance and knows that she can never say "You go girl"), but that's the only thing about me that has ever been slim and I'm standing with Candy and her gorgeous musical director and sister Busty Beatz to reclaim the sexiness of fatty boom boom.

From the moment Candy struts onto the stage in her "sexy-arse, body-hugging red dress", she own the room and the hearts of everyone in the audience – and most of their libidos.

Starting with a story about buying the dress, this show's about owning and loving who and what you are, and refusing to wear ridiculous floral tents. Being "Blasian" (she's from Dandenong with a South African, Chinese and Malaysian background), she's also faced racial crap and lets us delight in her shaming those who delivered it, and there's a wonderful bit about various communities trying to claim her when she first gained media attention.

Candy and I have many things in common – I also fancy gingers, wear clothes that emphasise my breasts and dream about endless dessert buffets – but I didn't grow up listening to the angry politics of Hip Hop and the casual misogyny of rap.  My teen music was Rick Astley, Split Enz and The Human League and that the first political song I bought was "Do They Know It's Christmas". Candy B is Hip Hop and, for us who still don't know that "phat" is cool, she translates some Snoop Dog lyrics. Yep, there's plenty of room for change in some of those attitudes and it's amazing folk like Candy B, Busty Beatz and the Massive Hip Hop Choir (who opened the night) who are leading the way and reclaiming the phat beatz as their own. 

Candy B is drop-dead gorgeous, jaw-aching funny and proves that we can and will remix attitudes.  The only way the night could be better is if there were a koeksister stall downstairs. (It's a South African doughnut deep fried and served in syrup.)

PS: As a 70s child, I had a black Barbie. She was generic not-Barbie who still had long straight hair, and I love that it never occurred to me that she should date my golliwog. 

This appeared on AussieTheatre.com

09 April 2012

MICF review: The Goodbye Guy

MICF 2012
The Goodbye Guy
Justin Hamilton
27 March 2012
The Toff
But the show's on at The Victoria Hotel
to 21 April

Thank gods that fraking Hammo is finally giving up standup.

Justin Hamilton has been doing shows for eighteen years and The Goodbye Guy is his farewell to the standup stage (for the immediate future anyway). I'm thrilled.

OK, so he's become one of the best around with a stage persona so affable that he can be filthy and he make observations so sharp that it's best to check for bleeding.  He's one of the few men who can say cunt and make me want to hug him, he lets me feel cool for loving Dr Who, understands why I fancy David Bowie, and lets me feel OK about having not really grown up and about spending too much time in the TV section of Amazon.

But every time I see one of his shows show, I want him to get off the stage and start writing more. Yesterday I read his blog and said to the screen that I want him to write a book – and a TV series and more theatre shows like his wonderful Goodbye Ruby TuesdayWhen he opens this Goodbye saying that he wanted to be an author since he was seven but became comedian ... well maybe my fantasy about Hamilton the writer isn't so selfish.

You can't not love the gorgeous laughing comedy audiences, but I want Justin to reach the millions of people who are going to love his writing. Stand up has given him a remarkable understanding of story and character and he knows that you reach hearts by making people laugh, but it's almost impossible to write a lot when you spend most nights making people laugh.

Which takes me back to the The Goodbye Guy. This is a show about grief: heart-breaking, unfair, fuck-you-life grief. And it's damn funny.

Great comedy isn't jokes.  Pull a Xmas cracker if all you want is a joke. Finding laughs is what gets us through the dullness or unexpected hell of life. Comedy lightens the load and gives us the breathing space to cope. The best cancer jokes are from people who know they are going to die from it.

This is very personal piece about loss, but it's never self-indugent and his writing lets us find the moments when we know exactly how he feels because we've been there too – even if we haven't actually woken up in black face.

He talks about being comfortable in misery. It is so easy to do something we're good at and enjoy rather than take the terrifying leap to see if there's something we're meant to do. Justin Hamilton is exceptionally good at stand up and he loves what he does, but I'm certain that his best work is in front of him.

In the meantime, you've been well and truly warned. This may be your last chance to see a Hammo stand up show. Don't risk waiting for a comeback. The Goodbye Guy is a perfect coda to his standup career and an introduction to his writing that's going to leave you wanting more.

PS: For a more smutty night and awesome special guests, Justin and Adam Richard host The Shelf on Monday nights at the Toff during the festival.

PPS: And there's his podcast

MICF review: Dixie's Tupperware Party

Dixie's Tupperware Party
30 March 2012
The Famous Spiegeltent
to 22 April

Why did the walrus go to a Tupperware party?
He wanted to find a tight seal.

This is the only Tupperware joke I knew before a night with the outrageously wonderful Dixie Longate selling me plastic crap. I'm most proud of myself for getting out without buying anything because I love colourful, air-tight seals that keep the moths and or keep celery crunchy for weeks and Dixie's Tupperware Party is a Tupperware party.

Yes, one of those things where housewife-types make devilled eggs and fruit punch and hope that their friends will buy enough plastic crap so they can send their kids to camp and buy lots of shoes. Never been to one? Really? You must and Dixie's is a damn good one to start with.

Dixie lives in a trailer park, has three kids and three dead husbands. Her first Tupperware candy bowl was a gift that still shines like crystal and may bring a tear to your eye by the end of the night. She needed a way out (of jail) and found her role model in Brownie Wise, the woman who realised that women can sell to each other and have fun and she held the first Tupperware party over 60 years ago.

As the home page of the Tupperware site says: "For over 60 years Tupperware Brands has made a difference in the lives of women around the world by offering an independent business opportunity." And they do. Within a year Dixie was the top selling Tupperware seller in the USA. Who ever said drag performers won't earn a living, didn't factor in the power of charm, sass and innuendo. If you're not sure, Dixie is frocked and tucked.

Dixie's Tupperware Party is a tribute to every woman who has ever earned money by selling Tupperware and a ever-fresh night of high-camp, low-class fun that'll leave you singing about rimming. Stop sniggering, you close a Tupperware bowl by rimming it.

Take neighbours, nannas, husbands and anyone who has ever rolled their eyes when you mention the T word.

PS. If anyone wants to buy me a present, I have the celery keeper, but I love the Crystal Wave containers that go from freezer to microwave.

This review was on AussieTheatre.com

MICF review: Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby Wants a Wife
30 March 2012
Victoria Hotel
to 22 April

How many woman are going to head to Hannah Gadsby Wants a Wife hoping that it's a reality show with a snogging contest for the potential brides? But, of course, that's just silly. A woman can't marry a woman in this country.

The internet doesn't need another rant about equality. There's no logic, decency, compassion or common sense in any argument against same-sex marriage.  And, as Hannah says, if she could marry the chick she loves, it'd make it harder for her lover to leave.

No one seeing her show disagrees (and it'll be full every night of the festival), so perhaps we need a campaign to get the "moral majority" away from the suburbs and their huge-screen tvs and Herald Scum editorials and into some comedy shows.

Things to sell them on Hannah: she uses naughty words (including the very naughty one that women aren't meant to like – but we do); there's discussion about Victorian (the time, not our state) morality; and there are naked ladies.

Just don't mention that the nudes are in painting, that Art – capital A art – is discussed and that they may finally realise that fancying people who share your gender has nothing to do with gender inversion. Lesbians are not dudes.

Hannah Gadsby had me from the moment I saw her on telly showing where she was from on her map of Tasmania. She's the most delightful thing on the ABC (lovely Adam Hills, we want more of Hannah on Gordon Street) but she's so much more gorgeous, smart and funny in the flesh. This is stand up with the kind of heart and guts that gives hope that we really are heading in the right direction, and will get there faster once we're over the prejudicial bumps.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

MICF review: Geraldine Hickey

MICF 2012
Turns Out I Do Like Sun Dried Tomatoes
Geraldine Hickey
29 March 2012
Portland Hotel
to 22 April

I saw Geraldine Hickey in a Fringe show in 2009 and I'm finally seeing her standup. Yay. Gorgeous, filthy and deliciously satisfying, Turns Out I Do Like Sun Dried Tomatoes celebrates the realisation that being yourself really beats trying to fit in.

Geraldine loves (really, really loves) crocodiles, thinks John Masden writes brilliant books and has short neatly trimmed finger nails. I have three pairs of Crocs (that I really love; yes, really), read Marsden's Tomorrow series in my late 30s and have long finger nails painted in glitter that chips off. One of us is celebrating coming out.

This Comedy Festival, Geraldine looks back over her life and wonders why she didn't see the signs. Well she did, but there was a bit of in and out (and a bit of in and out) in the meantime. 

Confusing her bogan tendencies with being a lesbian, growing up in conservative Liberal-voting country Victoria, and dealing with her Christian faith and the ridiculous tenets of Catholicism didn't help. She thought that the hating of skirts, the Melissa Etheridge posters and her passion for cricket should have made her realise, but then even her loving having sex with women didn't do it.

Fortunately for her (and I'm sure some very lucky women), that's all changed and, even if her mum might give the show a miss, we'll all celebrate with her and keep fighting until she can have a caravan park wedding just like her sister's.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.