Johanna Cosgrove: Hi, Delusion! | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Johanna Cosgrove: Hi, Delusion!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

‘Johanna Cosgrove is utterly deluded,’ reads the description of this show. But, au contraire, this flirty and filthy Kiwi force of nature knows precisely who she is, self-identifying as a ‘gay icon’. It’s hard to disagree, given how unapologetically proud she is to be her authentic, messy self – and how commanding her stage presence is.

Dressed in funereal black but far more risqué than your average mourner, she exudes a raucous hen’ night energy, seizing control of the room with her intimidating power of personality and unfiltered candour.

She shares her chequered dating history, from a penchant for carnie types to disappointing Hinge hook-ups. Other anecdotes come from a gap year in South Korea or her stint working as a stripper, required to dance to some of the least sexy music known to man.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaSome of her tales have real WTF? moments to shock the audience, and in most of them, Cosgrove doesn’t come out looking too great, even when she’s controlling the narrative. But it’s all water off a duck’s back. She’ll have no truck with embarrassment, neither internalised nor from those who’d try to body- or slut-shame her.

Occasiontally he material moves away from her confessional first-hand anecdotes. She discusses, for instance, how home ownership has become a seemingly impossible dream, at least not without the death of mum and/or dad. It’s an understandably familiar lament from her generation, but given her parents had some health woes, there’s a bit of an edge to Cosgrove’s take.

The structure of the show’s not especially robust, an attempt to tie strands together in the final haul notwithstanding, but it’s hard to complain since sloppiness is very much on-brand for this Kiwi powerhouse.

Her material away from the raunchy tales that offer vicarious thrills might be patchier, but the force of her personality, emphasised by a pretty physical performance, is very forgiving. You just have to submit to the hurricane and see where it takes you.

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Review date: 15 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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