The audience cheers like football fans, filled with gratitude that Bryony Kimmings would so fearlessly share her learnings.
If you’d have told me that I would go to a Melbourne International Comedy Festival show that was a combination of comedy, performance art, dance and song and proclaim it to be one of the best comedy shows I’ve ever seen, I would have said there was more chance of Beyoncé and Bob Dylan eloping and adopting Eminem.
But that’s exactly what happened. (The ‘one of the best shows I’ve ever seen’ thing, not that second bit. That’s just weird… though admittedly intriguing.)
UK-based Bryony Kimmings, who describes herself as a ‘performance artist’, does a bit of everything, including full-length theatre shows, cabaret, music, sound installations and documentaries.
She pulls out all those stops for her debut Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show, Sex Idiot, which is about her quest to track down her ex-lovers after she discovers she has a common sexually transmitted disease.
Each vignette tries to explain and learn from each of the lovers she contacts. There are huge belly laughs throughout the show and some seriously stomach-churning moments of discomfort (this quirky offering is definitely not for the faint-hearted or small-minded).
But along with the belly-laughs there is the sort of raw heartache and pain that comes with growing up and learning about your world, your body and love.
Admittedly, I shed a tear or two at some of the most poignant moments, but never did the sadness overwhelm the laughter and that’s where the genius lies in this absolute cracker of a show.
It’s reminiscent of Celia Pacquola’s 2009 effort, Am I Strange?, which won a slew of awards and was heartbreaking, but still funny and ultimately uplifting.
At the end of the show, as the lights come up, the audience cheers like football fans, seemingly filled with gratitude that Bryony Kimmings would so fearlessly share her learning, her growth, her heartache… and all to make us laugh.
Rating: 4 and ½ out of 5 stars
By Bryony Kimmings
Melbourne Town Hall
27-29 March and 3-5 April
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
26 March - 20 April