REVIEW: Hannah Gadsby’s Dogmatic

1 April 2016

In a sparkled jacket and a flash of lights, Hannah Gadsby returns to the comedy scene in a way she perhaps never thought to imagine herself in. The usually woe-ridden comedian illustrates her new show Dogmatic in a series of dance cut scenes and costume changes that mirror the set list of a Taylor Swift concert – literally.

Gadsby’s short-narrative style is not so delicately mashed with Tay Tay’s hit album 1989, attempting to keep the “depressing stuff” at bay. As a result, Dogmatic marks a slight move away from the self-deprecating humour she is known for – but not so much so that we forget why we came to see her in the first place.

The promise of “no woe” leads to stories of apocalypse-fearing bears (the human kind) and pampered pram-driven New York princesses (the Chihuahua kind).

Appropriately featured photos of her dog, as well as accidentally-sexual dance moves, are thrown in as the backing vocals to this pseudo-musicale. A smattering of insults and self-esteem issues, and voilà – I found myself cackling as Gadsby took a loose and flippant hold of the lead microphone.

Gadsby has a way of seamlessly creating a unique experience for every audience, being both facetious and brutally honest in this muddled chronology of her life. She is the human Doppler effect: here and there at the same time, dynamic, slightly obnoxious and almost frighteningly loud. In a spellbinding finale, we get a hint of just enough social commentary that is suitable from someone who barely takes herself seriously.

In execution and quality, Hannah Gadsby delivers wonderfully. This balancing act of wit, candour and observation leaves us only wanting for more of her trademark persona.

You can immerse yourself in the inebriating Hannah Gadsby through Dogmatic, playing at ACMI during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 17. 

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