Taking us through a short history lesson in marriage and art through the ages, Hannah Gadsby’s show is stand-up comedy with a little social, cultural and even educational twist. Throughout the show, Gadsby covers many things but the main crux of it is the differences - and indeed similarities - between traditional marriage and gay marriage and what life would have been like for a lesbian in different periods throughout history (the Victorian-era was best, apparently). She uses one of her favourite paintings, Jan Van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Marriage, to illustrate her points about traditional marriage and gender politics, using her light-hearted whimsical humour and insight as an art history graduate.
By far the most entertaining moments of Gadsby’s show are those in which she digresses, which happens a lot. In between her discussion of the many viewpoints and interpretations of the Van Eyck portrait which is so rich with symbolism, Gadsby talks about her dislike for playing gigs in London due to disgruntled stag-do parties who don’t know how they’ve ended up at an Australian woman’s stand-up show. The audience are tickled with laughter at these little extra stories as Gadsby continues, sharing her tale about how having a health assessment essentially declared her as having a dinosaur body (strong legs, pathetically weak arms) and her attempts to be ‘one of the boys’ to stop guys from chatting her up, creating an awkward atmosphere for all parties involved.
Continuing to feed this hilariously and loveably awkward persona she has created for herself, Gadsby reads out some nasty comments she has received from anonymous YouTube dwellers in a section of the show she refers to as ‘No, I Don’t Want To Meet You.’ Before taking her leave, Gadsby takes it upon herself at the end of her show to apologise to all the stereotypes she may have offended during her show, an act which is in itself humorous, of course. She’s quiet, awkward, quirky and doesn’t have to make a big song and dance about her comedy show to get a giggle. Her wistful wit and whimsy is all she needs to have the audience clutching their sides with laughter.