Gluttony – Masonic Lodge – Owl Room, Tue 19 Feb.
[COMEDY/SPOKEN WORD ~ SA PREMIERE – CAN]
Gillian English is a tall, angry Canadian with an MFA in theatre, and she’s here to tell us a few things she thinks about Shakespeare. Her stand-up comedy show is built around a list of issues English has with one of Shakespeare’s more difficult plays, The Taming Of The Shrew and by extension the conceptually weird 90s teen rom-com based on it, 10 Things I Hate About You, which has less CIA-style torture but still comes to some bizarre conclusions about relationships.
There’s a kind of seething rage that you only get to see close-up if you spend a lot of time with grad students, preferably grad students in the Humanities. You spend so long with this one thing and, especially if that one thing is as culturally inescapable as Shakespeare, you can end up knowing and loathing it. It is this familiar rage that pours off English during her hour-long performance. She’s funny and topical, with a kind of John Mulaney-esque demeanour, but she’s also furious: at Shakespeare, and Disney, at Australian immigration, at Justin Trudeau, at pocket-less clothing.
10 Things I Hate About Taking Of The Shrew is like any conversation between a group of post-grads after the official conference drinks are after, when everyone starts sharing Foucault memes and making jokes that are a wild blend of extremely specific disciplinary knowledge and broad pop culture references, a mix that is smart and sharp without being alienating. English knows her stuff, but she’s too funny to let the Shakespeare overtake the jokes.
The show lags a little in the middle, but it felt more like opening night timing issues than anything. Things will get tighter and punchier as they go on, and English has enough energy to carry off the occasional lapses in momentum.
10 Things I Hate About Taming Of The Shrew continues at Gluttony – Masonic Lodge – Owl Room from 9.30pm until Sun 3 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.