#firstworldwhitegirls - MELBOURNE
#firstworldwhitegirls, Speakeasy HQ at MICF, 10-22 April 2018. Photography by Nathaniel Mason
With trepidation, I dragged myself from my sick bed and trundled toward Speakeasy HQ, one of the many sites around Melbourne of the Comedy Festival.
Writer and performer Judy Hainsworth is Tiffany. Tiffany is bad, her sidekick Maddison (Meggan Hickey) is also bad and by bad, I mean naughty – hysterically naughty.
The title suggests it’s going to be about trashing white and privileged folk and Hainsworth’s writing does just that – unabashed trashing of the difficulties faced by the gals of the title. Tiffany – all puffed up pink lips and big hair who lives her life through the Kardashians – welcomes the audience to her Botox party.
They move from Botox to Endless Summers and a wonderful (seemingly obligatory) sketch about Trump – orange is the new black. There are first world problems and labia lifts and Tinder. And then there’s a bloke from the audience where the obvious thing would be for Tiffany to be all over him, but then she launches into “Please don’t ask me out”.
The songs are well written, but the vocals are a stand-out. Both women studied at the Brisbane Conservatorium, an institution that breeds great singers, collaborators, musicians and writers. Little considered fact: cabaret works so much better when the singing is flawless. Musically too, Matthew Nutley on keyboards holds his own with the odd aside. Second rarely considered fact: a director (Lewis Jones) is critical for cabaret and he keeps the show tight without hindering the exuberance of the performers, especially in a small space.
An example of brilliance is Maddison being taught the finer things of privilege from Tiffany. When she summons up the courage and asks for her own song – “Unique Snow Flake” – she sings, she taps, plays piano and the trumpet!
#First World White Girls is 60 minutes of hilarity, I only wish they weren’t playing to the converted. They bring the show to a close with “thanks for coming, we’ve been brilliant” – altruistic to the end. The encore song, and no spoilers here, had me with my mouth agape not quite sure I was hearing what I was hearing and laughing uproariously when I knew you shouldn’t be.
Trepidation well and truly left behind, I left HQ grinning and went out into the foyer where the multitudes were lining up for the next show of the evening, then out into the cool night and the whirling mass of people, the vibrant festival air that is Melbourne in April.