Review By Alice Mooney
An exceptionally wholesome experience was had by all at Geraldine Hickey’s What a Surprise, unapologetically written pre-COVID-19. She hosted a full house on ‘tight-arse’ Tuesday and it was great to see so many people coming along to the comedy festival for a much-needed giggle after the year we’ve had. Geraldine delivers with her classic dry wit and understated character. She ponders the inconvenience of making your own birthday plans and shares her loophole in organising the ultimate surprise party for herself, with her partners help of course. However, when you already know something is coming, the element of surprise can make for an amusing roller-coaster of anticipation and possible let-downs.
I really wanted the bright pink and orange backlights directed at the audience to fade down, but they stayed on for the duration. Apart from Geraldine’s face eclipsing the bright lights from where I sat, the Town Hall is the perfect venue for comedy and a very accessible space.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a show that relies on content rendered during lockdown, rather it also takes you on an enjoyable virtual vacation listening to Geraldine’s amusing holiday stories and watching videos from the smartphone archives.
Stops along the way include New Zealand, Bunbury and Venus Bay where, beyond the stage, Geraldine has captured some of the funniest ‘home video’ footage of her and her partner that leaves you in stitches seeing clip after clip of the comedian out in the wild where she gets her best material. It breaks up the hour, giving context to her stories and solidifying every comedic opportunity. Geraldine is effortless in eliciting laughter from her audience. She speaks about everyday thoughts and actions while poised on stage, so that the slightest additional flourish, movement or imitating someone hauling her in off a zip-line is far more impactful and painfully funny.
Finally, without giving away too much, she tells the audience of how her and her partner found a ring maker online who is definitely not a hand model. She went on to share the adventures of an engagement ring that had done far more travel than any of us in the past 12 months which was a real highlight of the evening. Just when you think to doubt any of her anecdotes by the end, she leaves audience with one last surprise that you’ll have to go along and see for yourself.