Gigging to eight punters in a room not much bigger than a closet is a comedy festival rite of passage. Sydney-sider Rosie Piper took this in her stride, giving an early Wednesday night timeslot a red hot go in her autobiographically-inspired show Goddess.
Piper is tall, with a baritone voice. Along with a screen for projections, she fills the tiny stage and is nearly in the front row's lap. Her story is big – coming out as transgender and all that involves, with reams of potential for both comedy and drama. Topics are ordinary and existential in equal parts – Piper's love of fast food, an odd situation in the women's toilets of a pub, navigating the social mores around dead names and ruminating on the true cause of a romantic break-up.
Intermittent power point projections "trans-plain" vocabulary and acronyms of trans-culture. A repeated plug for Rosie's Go Fund Me campaign that is raising money for her eventual surgeries gets a few too many airings. Oscillating between stand-up and self-reflexion, Goddess's tone and pace feels still in development, with scope for more nuanced humour and dynamics.
Piper makes the point that she's is not a Goddess, as some overly-compensating people labelled her when she first introduced herself to the world as Rosie. Maybe she's not a goddess, but she's a smart cookie, with many insights to share. Watch this space...
2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Mantra on Russell | 222 Russell St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 31 March – 24 April 2022
Tickets: $15 – $25