Geraldine Quinn is no stranger to the comedy circuit. While I hesitate to use the word “veteran,” perhaps that is most suitable and given the content of Quinn’s show, perhaps she wouldn’t mind. The multi-award-winning cock-pop-rock-cabaret-comedienne returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with BROAD, a tribute to the bold, brassy, fabulous women that inspired and nurtured Quinn into the fiercely brash performer we see today.

There’s something immensely comforting about watching an artist of Quinn’s calibre on stage. She’s both keenly self-aware and overtly outrageous and doesn’t lean into self-deprecating humour. Rather, BROAD is a celebration of the very things women are often warned about growing up. Don’t be too loud, be seen but not heard, make yourself smaller, and for goodness sake don’t do anything to upset the patriarchy!

Quinn weaves her tale of a childhood in Wagga Wagga watching Bewitched and identifying with Endora over Samantha, of growing up scouring op shops for fabulous caftans and costume jewellery that could take an eye out. She moves to Melbourne to study drama but is later deemed too “unrelatable” for mainstream media. This leads her into musical comedy, which quite honestly is the perfect medium for someone of Quinn’s wit, stage presence and sheer talent.

Through the 60-minute performance of comedy gems, Quinn moves effortlessly through her catalogue of original songs that range from moving ballads to pop bangers and a sprinkling of musical theatre influence, perhaps in part to the accompanist Cameron Thomas who is a delightfully fun part of the show.

Quinn sings with such immense power and control that it is baffling she doesn’t have agents clamouring to sign her to a record deal. It’s the kind of voice that silences an audience with its clarity and that has the ability to both make you laugh or cry, depending on her whim.

Quinn is in total control throughout this performance. It is a well-crafted and slick piece of theatre that looks at the bright side of what being a broad means today. Falling somewhere between Helen Bonham Carter and Rhonda Burchmore, Quinn’s persona is larger than life and unafraid of being “different.”

What I find most ironic about BROAD and of Quinn is just how wrong that agent was who told her she was unrelatable. By leaning into everything that makes her unique, she has captured the cultural zeitgeist, making her very relatable to audiences across generations and genders.  

Quinn is the fairy godmother of comedy cabaret, she casts a spell over the audience with her rapid-fire jokes and phenomenal voice. There is so much to love about this show that I could tell you more, but it would be best if you just saw it yourself.

Event details

Geraldine Quinn presents
by Geraldine Quinn

Venue: Trades Hall Common Rooms Bar | 54 Victoria St, Carlton VIC
Dates: 10 – 23 April 2023
Tickets: $32 – $20

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