Edinburgh Review: Hannah Gadsby - 'Hannah Needs a Wife'

August 30, 2012


Going off the title alone, visitors to the Gilded Balloon would be forgiven for thinking they were entering into a one sided speed dating evening with the sole purpose of finding a companion for a stern, bespectacled lady but from the start Hannah Gadsby makes it clear that this is ‘not an active search’ the title merely forms a platform from which she can address issues of gender, sexuality and marriage.

Dressed in what she calls her ‘cockblock’ - a 3-piece suit and tie - former art historian Hannah centers her show on a Jan Van Eyck painting (The Arnolfini Portrait) which she brings to life with her analysis of the symbolism and the lives of the subjects... which admittedly doesn’t sound very funny but Hannah’s Eddie Izzard-esque tangents and playful detours make what could be a dry and pretentious set, into something altogether warmer and full of character.  In fact, it’s a curious cross-breed of high-brow and low culture, littered with references to modern celebs such as Chris Brown and Kim Kardashian but held together by Hannah’s intelligence, observational wit and knack for anecdotes.

Gadsby’s show is not only hilarious but also insightful and articulate with a dry and natural delivery. Having notched up regular appearances on Australian TV, she’s already won over audiences down under and aims to do the same in the northern hemisphere. Now based in the UK full time, Hannah is available for bookings and would be a welcome addition to any corporate event, particularly those with an art slant.

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