[CABARET/COMEDY ~ AUS ~ IF YOU LOVE… TO LAUGH]
Space Theatre, Thu 20 Jun.
From Zoë’s opening line, there is never any doubt that there are no holds (or words) barred in next hour or so of Cabaret Comedy. I hadn’t heard the one about a handy young carpenter lesbian coming out of the closet to no one’s surprise because of all of the shelves that she’d been building, but it was a good (if quite mild) line. But the expression of “I’m more of a bloody handyman that you’ll ever be,” was part of her asserting her space on the stage. There were plenty more, many of them full of rather more frank experiences, body parts and positions. An extended discussion of the lesbian’s perspective of ‘heteros’, the idea that sex leads to anything other than fun (like babies) was quite insightful as well as hilarious!
Zoë Coombs Marr has been wowing the audiences for some time, and we saw glimpses of Dave, the Bogan comedian she played for her show Trigger Warning, and plenty of evidence of an experienced performer ready and able to push boundaries. One of the themes that Zoë has weaved this show around is her grandmother who, in her dotage, was collecting of babushka dolls. There are some heart-warming lines – at times it’s philosophic, approaching existential, at other times biological, almost philosophical to the point of a mother’s eggs being formed while in the womb of her mother (grandmother) and the ponderings of such complexity.
The audience that we are, that people forgetting Zoë has the same conversation with night after night who keep forgetting where we’ve been and what we’ve done, learn the act of trust together, not just in the banter, but with Zoë performing a stage dive (twice). And along the way, to a minor technical hitch, the rear stage curtain drops to reveal the voices of the track being played are in fact an accompanying choir – certainly adding surprise and some different elements to the show. As well as singing, they’ve been scripted with musical heckles, some of which don’t quite work while others work brilliantly. And while you might be concerned about those that seem slightly off kilter – in fact, they add a certain charm to the show and a highlight to the ones that really do hit it off – a bit like how slapstick works by going terribly wrong!
The other major theme of the show is her solo performance, on flute, in West Side Story – from this part of her younger life we’re treated to her speech, her performance poetry, the final lines of which are delivered by a dinosaur and wait, there’s more! Zoë has plenty of polish as a performer, but also cultivates the charm of being real, of working with surprise as much as delivering it. There is plenty of evidence here as to why Zoë’s previous shows have been well regarded and received awards from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among many others.
As well as the fare of comic banter, one-liners and hilarious situations, Zoë is a comedian with a creative interest in challenging her audience’s intelligence – are you up for it?
An Evening With Zoë Coombs Marr continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 9.30pm until Fri 21 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.