Hannah Gadsby current comedy show Dogmatic won’t leave the audience feeling warm and fuzzy inside. While a far step away from her manic-depressive character she has become synonymous for playing in break-out success Please Like Me, Gadsby is organically inclined to draw distinction to the somber over the sunny.
A self-aware comedian, reflecting on shows Gadsby has played-out in prior years, she persists this show will be more upbeat and less melancholy, or as she echoes throughout the evening ‘no woe’.
The evening is a finely tuned, multi-media performance- disguised as chaos. However, Gadsby would likely prefer for her routine to be interpreted as a complete disarray attempting a coordinated effort. Pointless costume changes and feigned dance moves only added to this, but who can blame her for not having backup dancers because she “doesn’t like people.” Her dry humour was readily receives by all – as were her many videos of her hopeless but loveable pooch.
The family quirks of her father collecting corn on the cob bags were hilarious and a neat thread to carry through the maze of stories she intertwined.
Her performance is signposted surprisingly by Taylor Swifts 1989 concert tour, for reasons that will reveal themselves at the conclusion. She reflects on her experiences of ‘Bad Blood’ with a couple of gay bears from Durham, North Carolina that turned out to be gun-toting conspiracy theorist hicks. While she confesses her history of feeling the urge to fill any ‘Blank Space’ in time with an inappropriate jokes, even when faced with the moment tragic of circumstance.
The biggest belly laughs received were from Gadsby’s ‘Welcome to New York’ tale of catching the poo of a chihuahua she was babysitting, resulting in her vomiting on an unassuming woman, leaving the audience gagging from laughter in their seats.
While not every joke completely lands, Gadsby has such a cool ease with words and a level of unwavering modesty and self-deprecation that her quick-wit always recovered.
Her take down of Swift’s nonsensical lyrics such as ‘my heart is beating in my chest’ (where else?) and patronising ‘clean speech’, is masterful. But be warned, Swift fans should look away. Gadsby relays some hardly funny but telling points about Swift’s self-imposed underdog classification, despite running contradictory to her unarguably privileged position.
No woe, Gadsby is delightfully macabre and has the in-built charisma to match.
Hannah Gadsby will be performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 31 March- 12 April 2016. More info here.