|Hannah Wants A Wife | Hannah Gadsby|
|Written by Lee Bemrose|
|Monday, 02 April 2012 19:23|
I have to say that after watching the MICF Gala night last week, I was left feeling pretty underwhelmed. So many comedians, so little to laugh at. A lot of acts weren't just not funny but were embarrassingly lame. I had read a few press releases of local and international acts and the spin appeared to be shamelessly over-the-top.
So it was with some trepidation that I went along to see my first act of the festival, Hannah Gadsby. Her brief appearance at the Gala had been one of the more amusing ones, but who knew what was going to unfold?
The Banquet Room in the Victoria Hotel filled quickly with obviously eager fans. On the small stage was a painting, The Arnolfini Marriage by Flemish Northern Renaissance painter Jan Van Eyck. It's a bit of a gothic job depicting, it seems, the moment of marriage between this apparently important couple.
Gadsby eventually took to the stage, had a bit of banter with the audience (some dears in the front row clearly had a crush on Hannah), did a political bit about gay rights and marriage, then covered a bit of the history of marriage and its mostly financial impetus.
She then turned her analytical skills on the Van Eyck, and suddenly the tone went from being funny to being funny and fun. Close-ups of the detail of the painting were projected onto the wall and Gadsby's astute interpretations of the symbolism were explained in her laidback yet rapid fire style. By all accounts, Gadsby's art talks are hilarious and it felt like a bit of a bonus that so much of this show was given over to this element of her comedy. The Arnolfi Marriage – as wooden and formal as it is – explodes with symbolism once you take the time to look, and Gadsby manages to get some humorously convincing readings of it all – "Dan Browning the shit out of it," as she puts it.
She also does a very good line in self-deprecation, and so it is that as cockily confident as this art connoiseur is (she has a degree in art curation), when she sees the painting in real life for the first time she is forced to admit that maybe she got a few things wrong.
Hannah wanting a wife is the general theme of the show and she allows herself to digress into some very funny anecdotes that sometimes have little to do with marriage or being gay... though mostly her humour does revolve around being gay. She does take a few pot-shots at homophobes and Bob Katter, but what the hell – both ask for it anyway.
Clocking in at one hour, Hannah Wants A Wife is a mighty fine hour of comedy – and it's even a little bit educational.
A Token Event
Hannah Wants A Wife
Venue: Victoria Hotel - Banquet Room | 215 Lt Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: 29 March - 22 April, 2012
Times: Tue-Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 - $24
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 & at the door
Part of the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
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