Comedy review: Breast of the Fest, Trades Hall, MICF 2024

A showcase of emerging female and non-binary performers.
Four female and non-binary people stand in a group facing the camera, one is sitting at the front wearing light blue, the others are standing behind her. All five wear a T shirt with breasts and crosses for nipples drawn on in texta.

Breast of the Fest is a mixed bag of emerging comedians. While the show occasionally falters with instances of self-indulgence and nervous energy, it still succeeds in offering nuanced displays of talent that invite a glimpse into a world beyond the ordinary. 

This year’s iteration features six women and non-binary rising stars including Patti Fawcett, Helena Hogan, Tarsh Jago, Montana Papadinis, Bell Woolley and Grace Zhang. Each performer brings a unique comedic style to the stage.

Papadinis kicks things off by poking fun at her perpetually procrastinating parents. Fawcett, whose failed rock-climbing skills cost her a relationship for not being ‘gay enough’, shines with hilarious tales of holiday mishaps. Woolley, who’s a lawyer by day, makes a promising entry in her act about navigating the challenges of being in your late twenties. Jago charms the crowd with a relatable tale of first heartbreak, while Hogan hilariously recounts getting scammed for a yoni massage session. Zhang concludes with an eccentric account of feminism.

Despite its imperfections, the show remains a valuable platform for discovering fresh voices in the comedy scene; Breast of the Fest continues its annual tradition of nurturing new talent, setting the stage for the next generation of comedy stars. 

Read: Comedy Festival, Shitfaced Shakespeare, Athenaeum Theatre, MICF

Tickets: $22-$28

Breast of the Fest will be performing at Trades Hall until 21 April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024).

Dorcas Maphakela is a multidisciplinary creative combining writing, visual arts and holistic well-being advocacy in her practice. She is a South African-born Mopedi woman who relocated to Australia by choice in 2007 and became a citizen in 2012. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Johannesburg and holds a Master of Arts in Writing from Swinburne University of Technology. Dorcas is also a TV presenter, public speaker and founder and producer of the Antenna Award-winning OZ AFRICAN TV (OATV). She is the co-founder of Yo CiTY, a platform that champions the culturally diverse experience through Art & music. Her work was acknowledged with a Media Award from the Victorian Multicultural Commission for “outstanding reporting on issues of importance to diverse communities and reporting which contributes to Victoria’s cross-cultural understanding” (VMC).