Adelaide Fringe Review: Hannah Gadsby 'The Exhibitionist' - Paradiso Spiegeltent (01.03.14)

Opening her latest Adelaide Fringe show, "The Exhibitionist", a week later than expected due to an emergency appendix removal, Hannah Gadsby is pretty impressive for someone recovering from surgery. There is something eternally entertaining about people making fun of themselves and Gadsby seems to be able to do it better than most.

Here, she takes us on an hour long slideshow of mostly failed photographs of herself through the ages as given to her in a box by her parents who hilariously don’t seem interested in holding onto these underwhelming memories. She narrates each photo with her trademark dry wit while delving into the mystery and somewhat ridiculousness of personal photographs. From portraits of royalty in the 1800's, to the modern day 'selfie' this comedic lesson in portraiture is a solid performance of light-hearted entertainment.

Not everyone can pull of such self involvement and make it entertaining, but Gadsby knows how to laugh at herself without being cruel and reassure the audience that they are laughing with her, not at her. While not overwhelming hilarious, "The Exhibitionist" sure has its moments (the Putin vs Bieber compassion is a sure standout) with plenty of audience pleasing self-deprecating jabs. Gadsby sometimes struggles with her delivery with a bit of stammering and obvious time constraint anxiety, but given her recent stint in hospital, the fact that she showed up at all is means for praise.

See "The Exhibitionist" if you want humour that you don’t have to think about too much; this is solid, risk-free entertainment by a comedian fast becoming one of Australia's most celebrated. One thing’s for sure, you will never look at a selfie the same way again...