Presented by Seismic Talent
Reviewed 14 March 2022
Karen From Finance is best known from the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, and now she’s at the Fringe with her original show, Out of Office. Sadly, the season has ended, but anyone who missed it should absolutely look for the next opportunity to see this absolute powerhouse of a businesswoman on stage!
Karen certainly knows how to build suspense in a show, refusing to make her appearance on stage until after a Disney-esque overture and her theme song, complete with a film clip reminiscent of a 70s sitcom. But what an appearance she made, bedecked in feathers and with a stage presence that made The Peacock stage feel far too small; the audience went wild for her. She soon shed her feathers to reveal the stunning (and sparkly, of course) power suit of Karen From Finance, the woman who always arrives at work at 8:15am, who makes sure the men have their coffee and the stationary cupboard is always stocked.
She presented crowd-pleasing songs including hits by Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion, to name a few. Miming isn’t as easy as it looks, but Karen is both believable and entertaining in her songs. However, that’s not to say that Karen can’t sing; she proved otherwise by performing her new single, Out of Office.
Throughout the show we followed Karen’s journey from office doormat to being forced to take her accrued leave. The audience laughed, cheered and ‘aww’ed their way through her story, which included trials, tribulations, triumph, and a trucker named ‘Big Rig 69’, plus a host of RuPaul’s Drag Race references for fans of the show. We were, naturally, treated to a range of gorgeous costumes and fabulous wigs. Karen is highly entertaining and knows how to feed the expectations of her audience, working the room while keeping audience interaction under control and well-managed.
It was brilliant to see that this show included two translators signing the show in Auslan, something I’m a little surprised to not have seen more of this Fringe season. It is great to see this show being made accessible to the deaf community, and I do hope that even more shows include this in the future.
Karen From Finance is funny and fabulous, and comes highly recommended.
Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff
Rating out of 5: 5