Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette is comedy but not as you know it. It will make you laugh and it will most definitely make you cry. This show is so much more than Gadsby’s self-deprecating wit; it is also a tale of what it is to be different while growing up in an unaccepting society.
Gadsby’s show starts with her announcement that she is giving up comedy. She no longer wishes to unite this absurd society in laughter any more, realising life—her life—is not a joke. She acknowledges she has made a lot of money out of homophobia, but she has also sealed up a traumatic part of her life into jokes. She has now come to a realisation that not everything can be tagged with a gag, citing it as the reason she is ready to quit stand-up.
Gadsby is the ultimate wordsmith, mixing her observational artistic eye (she has a degree in art history) with one liners that have the audience eating out of her hand, throwing in a bit of commentary on art history for good measure. The audience is with her all the way with her jokes, but in the end the show morphs from comedy to angry diatribe. The punchlines are no longer funny, and it is Gadsby who delivers the final knock out.
By the end of the show the audience feels the tension she has felt all her life at being dealt the bitter blows she has suffered — and the audience love her all the more.
This show has plenty of laughs but will be one of the most profound hours you’ll spend at the Fringe. The dry wit of this talented comic will be missed when she leaves. She has a lot to teach us all with her clever observations, which are delivered with impeccable timing, and she never fails to make the audience laugh (and cry!). It’s sure to be a sell-out!