(Adelaide Fringe Festival, Garden of Unearthly delights, 28 February 2016)
It’s the Fringe and you gotta go to something, unless you’re saving those pennies for the stock car race Adelaide puts on to insinuate that it hosts great races and makes great cars (implications no longer true, if they ever were). The Varnished Culture naturally plumped for Hannah, art historian and well known actress and comic. She tends to steer clear of gynie jokes and deploy real wit, a rather radical departure. She is also excellent in a sweet ABC show, Please Like Me. We lined up (with our pre-paid tickets) and filed into a hard-to-find, panelled wooden box called the Factory and sat on uncomfortable wooden benches. We were front-row at least.
The show parodied messianic rants and trite bromides which are a feature of the increasingly maniacal Taylor Swift. Hannah spent much entertaining time deconstructing Tay-Tay’s nonsense, punctuated by totally insincere compliments to the singer’s talent and depth for feeling. Gadsby also introduced us to her dog Douglas (aka Douglas somebody she knew at University) and informed us of numerous uses for unused corn-on-the-cob bags, as well as providing some pre-recorded material while she underwent a dazzling series of costume changes. It was a short show, but satisfying, and whilst the capacity crowd were very appreciative at finale, she poked her head out from the wings and said that this was not a pop concert where they save the best stuff for encore: that was all she had. A nice absence of cant, after the rant. She’d been a hoot.
Trivia factoid: In 1939 Ernest Vincent Wright published a 50,000 word novel called Gadsby that does not contain the letter “e”. So take that, Georges Perec!