Have you ever wondered what all those freaky little babies are all about in Renaissance paintings? Or maybe why reclining nudes became such a massive fad? And what’s up with those horrifying proportions and mutated lions? Stand-up comedian, TV personality and holder of a degree in Art History and Curatorship, Hannah Gadsby has the answers to all of our fine arts questions and much more.
Art Lite is Gadsby’s exploration of art through the entirety of human history, starting with the Venus figurines of pre-ancient times and ending in the artistic selfies of Russia’s President. Gadsby presents a casual, hilarious show in which we are taken through over 300 PowerPoint slides that never get boring. Although it’s definitely an educational show as well as a comedy, Art Lite hardly feels like learning at all. In fact, by the time Art Lite concluded, my cheeks hurt from laughing.
Gadsby talks the audience through the dark ages (“when art got a bit shit”), debunks The Da Vinci Code and discusses the politics of the female nude. Basically a collection of her best art jokes, Art Lite is absolutely hilarious for both those who have seriously studied art and those who wouldn’t know a Goya from a Velázquez. You definitely don’t need to be “in-the-know” to appreciate almost every aspect this show.
Gadsby is an eccentric and energetic speaker, with an obvious passion for her subject. She’s obviously not aiming to be a true singing-dancing Cabaret star, but her approach to Art History is lively enough to fit in with all those feathers and sequins of the rest of the Festival.
Hannah Gadsby is also definitely no stranger to improvisation, able to quickly adapt on the fly, even when the computer begins to freeze up. Her relaxed and charming nature, combined with the rather intimate little venue of the Arstpace Gallery, make the show a very personal experience. You feel like you’re suddenly friends with both Gadsby and everyone else in the room by the end of it.
Art Lite might not be your typical Cabaret show (far, far from it really), but its uniqueness makes it stand-out as something interesting and special!
Reviewed by James Rudd
Rating (out of 5): 4
Venue: Artspace Gallery, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 13 – 14 June 2015
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
Tickets: $19.90 – $34.90
Bookings: Book online through www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au or phone BASS on 131 246