Venue: The Ballroom, Feast Hub, Light Square, Adelaide
Season: 22 November at 7pm only
Tickets: $20/conc $18
Bookings: FeasTix box office or www.feast.org.au
The theme of this year's Feast Festival is 'Coming Together', offering an ideal opportunity for six queer comedians to debate whether or not the gay community actually wants to come together as one. The question was posed: Do lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, inter-sex and queer (LGBTIQ) people have enough in common? Do the sub cultures within the broader gay community even like each other?
Hosted by the divinely funny drag queen Malt Biscuit, the Feast Comedy Debate teamed two groups of three comedians, giving each only five minutes to convince us of their side of the argument. Add to this some general mayhem, bitchy interruptions met with biting comebacks, and several of unexpected surprises throughout the evening, and a night of comedic mayhem ensued.
Leading the "for" team with deadpan hilarity was fashion faux pas Geraldine Hickey, "the thinking crowd's crumpet" whose solo show, Turns Out I Do Like Sun Dried Tomatoes, is current showing at the Feast Hub on Light Square. Braving witty taunts from her colleagues, Hickey cited the success of events like Feast to demonstrate just how much the community comes together.
Local identity Hans, resplendent in a feathered hat and decorative jumpsuit, expounded the joys of social media and smart phone apps for gay men to bring people together, while Melbourne's Nath Valvo, here with his one man show, Fag Hag, stole some highlights from his show to tell an animated tale of his coming out and his introduction to gay nightlife.
The quick-witted Lori Bell, here with her show Up Late & Loose, led the "against" team by likening the diversity of the gay community to a dysfunctional family coming together once a year for Christmas.
San Francisco's Kimberly Dark, from Dykeotomy, used the gender debate of her show to highlight how gender divides people, and how it was the heterosexual community that boxed queer identity under a single label anyway. Beauty and the Bear's Nathan Little ended the individual debates by highlighting the different subcultures commonly expressed nowadays as the ever-growing acronym "LGBTIQ" community.
While there was plenty of camp, and a couple of obligatory lip syncing routines, the Comedy Debate proved itself to be a relatively focused evening of hard laughs with fresh twists from the usual jokes about gay culture. The ability of the comedians to talk off the cuff with each other added immensely to their prepared debates and demonstrated just how funny these people really are.
Sadly, Feast's Comedy Debate is a one-night only gig, so do yourself a favour and jot down a reminder for next year festival now. If this year's debate is anything to go by, it should be at the top of your list, regardless of persuasion.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.