Review: DeAnne Smith: Epiphany at the Mantra on Russell

By Carly Fisher


DeAnne Smith’s shows have become an annual staple of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and so this year I decided it was about time I finally got to check out Smith’s work live. Like me, many in the audience seemed to be a first timer to a DeAnne show (although I would hazard a guess that many are already fans thanks to podcasts and Netflix), and others you could tell were attending the show as somewhat of an annual comedy festival tradition – back to the festival, back to DeAnne.


I could quickly see why you wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a ticket again and repeat attend – Smith’s ability to transcend the prepared script and punchlines and instead roll with the flow and energy of the audience proves Smith’s skillful mastering of the art of Stand Up. DeAnne offers an authenticity to the performance that allows you to feel as though this could just as easily be a conversation around a familiar lounge or dining table – Smith’s playfulness (called easy distraction) reminds us as an audience that Smith is very much here to converse and interact, rather than just merely to deliver.


Called Epiphany, Smith walks us through some of the things life has led to self-discovering. These realizations range in topic from Smith’s intense and unconditional love for their dog, to feeling intellectually insecure at an impressive dinner party, to not knowing the exact gender term that feels most comfortable to identify with and instead considering themselves to be a squirrel in pants, etc. It’s a good reminder of just how many things – both big and small, important and trivial – we really stop to focus on and give room to in our thoughts in any given period.


Smith is certainly self-aware and whilst many of their jokes come from being in some sense self-deprecating, a lot of what really made me laugh was just how relatable many of life’s scenarios are. A world away between Canada and Australia and its all exactly the same…


During a bit of crowd interaction time, a young man admitted that this was his first live show ever of any kind. As well as making of course for a series of great jokes for DeAnne and for great entertainment for the remainder of the show, I was particularly excited to see how excited this young guy was and how eager, at the end of the show he was to see a show again. This is the best feature of a comedy festival – its ability to engage new people in the magic of live performance. Everyone’s first time has to be someone and how lucky for this guy he chose to begin his ‘live’ journey with DeAnne, though they will be a tough act to beat for this young man…he was even awarded a plastic trophy by Smith that had held her gum until then – he seemed very excited!


Congratulations on another crowd pleaser DeAnne – you seem to know the Melbourne audience intimately and have crafted another show perfectly suited to their humour. In turn, Melbourne seems ready to welcome Smith back for another year with open arms!

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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