The Melbourne International Comedy Festival opens up all sorts of usually-not-a-comedy-venue venues – including upstairs at Beer Deluxe, at Federation Square, a bar, with no strict backstage. But comedians are an endlessly resourceful bunch, and it’s here that Anna Brennan lets people into her own show, Tinderella. Brennan does a quick 30-second tech after the previous show to make sure her mics are on, before hiding backstage to do her self-hype and barrelling into her routine.
She’s supremely likeable, with a flair for the physically comic flourish, as she lets you into the ridiculous encounters she’s had as a mum, living in the heart of judgemental hippy territory in rural Queensland and pondering on the ethics of a vegan eating their own placenta. Her storytelling includes several (as you would expect, given the show’s title) accounts of disappointing dates she’s had – from the $4000 vacuum salesman to the ‘inappropriately young’ Frenchman who wheedled his way into her boudoir promising a ‘French massage’ (there’s a reason you haven’t heard of it).
Some stories need a bit more polish, a few transitions are still a bit rusty – and I think opening night is always tough when you’re competing with an acoustic guitar player performing underneath you – but when she’s in full flight: Brennan is a wonder to behold.
Brennan’s been a mainstay of the Sunshine Coast comedy scene for some time now, and this show brings her straight-talking brand of warts-and-all humour where it feels like it belongs. Although her comedy touches on the self-deprecating (her Candyman story had me wincing), it doesn’t feel like this is a comedian-self-flagellates-for-audience-gratification sort of comedy, which always makes me uncomfortable. She shows her underbelly (not literally – what do you think this is?) but her vulnerability is of the sort that is so relatable you can’t help but laugh with her, and at life in general.
Although on opening night the crowd was mostly couples (who probably met on Tinder?), I think this would be a great show to go to with a bunch of girlfriends. You’ll probably want to grab her after the show to have beers with her.
A bonus: Brennan also has the greatest merch line of any comedian I’ve ever seen. You’ll want to buy those socks, I guarantee it.
Anna Brennan: Tinderella is playing at Beer Deluxe Upstairs until 23 April 2023 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.Tickets: $12-$18