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Review: Raise the Bra at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre -MICF

Review by Naomi Cardwell

Raise the Bra is the special Comedy Festival edition of producer Amna Bee’s hit monthly showcase, Raise The Bar Comedy, ordinarily held at StoryVille Bar. A coterie of audience regulars from the three-years-running show have enthusiastically followed it to the beautiful top floor of the QV Women’s centre, where it feels like we’re assembled in a secret observation deck among the skyscrapers, surrounded by the glittering city lights late at night. 

Every night’s showcase will run with a different theme. On this night, I’m treated to Tinder Tales, where the ensemble of performers trade horror stories and spurious wins from their adventures with dating apps. 

I’m struck immediately by the overwhelming warmth among the performers. The comedians fill the role of ushers as we take our seats, ensuring we’re already laughing from the moment we’re in the room. They greet regulars by name, often with hugs, and call out to each other across the crowd with friendly banter and hilarious observations. It’s so good to rock up to a comedy show run by women and nonbinary performers, in a beautiful space so obviously full of generous support and good vibes. It makes sense, when you think about it, that the first step to laughter is to actually feel safe and relaxed. 

The line-up is fantastic, beginning with the magnificent Janty Blair who simply sparkles as she regales us with hot stories from life on the other side of being “married up”, and the special 2020’s cringe of accidentally matching with one’s younger relatives online. Sashi Perera has us alternately covering our faces with horror and doing that breathless clap-laugh-thing as she takes us through a global adventure in Tinder fuckboy antics. In an interval later, Amna Bee will observe that Perera’s story wins the prize for worst Tinder story of the night, and Perera cheerfully and hilariously pipes up from the back - “What a shit competition to win!”. 

Diana Nguyen has us in stitches with her imitations of her refugee mother’s distress as (like so many of us) she sails through every socially established milestone by cheerily ignoring them all. Her physical comedy is a highlight of the show, and her impersonations and outrageous sex noises are an absolute scream. The Project’s Sonia Di Lorio closes the show out, fabulously droll, hilariously self-deprecating, with an opening line that will live rent-free in my head for years to come.

The rapport between the comedians, and Bee’s fantastic skills as an MC and a curator make Raise the Bra an unmissable feature of this year’s Comedy Festival, and a shining example of what women in our close-knit comedy community are achieving together. With great themes to come including Guilty Pleasures, Black Widow, Career Day, and Dysfunctional Families, I only wish I could return every night for more of the great vibes.

Image Supplied


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