Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 31 March 2018
Gillian English in Giant and Angry, March 30, 2018 ***
MELBOURNE COMEDY FESTIVAL
International act (Canada)
Stars: *** Reviewer: Kate Herbert Review also published in Herald Sun online Comedy Festival Reviews on Sat March 31, 2018.
Gillian English is feisty and fierce, and her
fast-paced stand-up show, Giant and Angry, explains how her Canadian upbringing
made her that way.
She grew up on a farm in isolated, rural Nova Scotia
in eastern Canada, and her routine starts by milking the comedy inherent in her
idiosyncratic parents: her dad is Shrek, and her mother is an assertive,
English was 5 feet 11 inches by the time she was 14,
so being a ‘giant’, as she describes herself, features in much of her comic material.
When she was a child, men and boys assumed she was
much older than her years, so her dad, who never met a problem that couldn't be
solved with well-placed violence, decided to – wait for it – teach his daughter
how to kill! Well, English describes it as learning how to 'incapacitate and
We are left gaping and laughing at the range,
inventiveness and brutality of the methods her dad taught her to use to disable
Things start to get weird when English, as a teenager,
decides to try to be more ‘feminine’, so she participates in beauty pageants – but
losing makes her even angrier.
During her uni years, she was a casino showgirl,
dressing up as Betty Boop and Marilyn Monroe, and some of her biggest laughs
come from her stories about men who tried to put their hands on her when she
was playing her showgirl characters. Her antics made her a casino legend!
English’s delivery is sometimes so rapid that we miss important
dialogue, but she is engaging, funny and angry, so it seems appropriate that,
hanging on the wall behind her, there’s a portrait of a manic-looking Jack
Nicholson in The Shining. Now he’s angry!
At Fad Gallery, 14 Corrs Lane, Melbourne, until April 21.