Do you dream of meeting your soul mate? What does he look like? Is he bespectacled and pale? Is he currently hunched over his flat white, reading a stimulating novel at a rapid pace? Does he kindly inform the waitress as she hurries over to take his order that it is in fact pronounced “Bruschetta” (bru’sketta) and no he is not waiting for anyone else? Does he chuckle softly to himself and return to his book, picking up his “I LOVE GRAMMAR” bookmark as he resumes reading?
Is this the man of your dreams? Well he is the man of Louisa Fitzhardinge’s, a self proclaimed nerd and language lover. Her cabaret, entitled Comma Sutra explores her love of language, puns and dad jokes. From start to finish Louisa captivates her audience, enthralling them with witty lyricism, and punch lines timed to perfection. Joined and accompanied by the wonderful Rainer Pollard, Louisa’s original songs celebrate her long, passionate and sometimes obsessive relationship with language. She gives us many fantastically funny but all too true scenarios of just how far she will go on her quest for accurate grammar. Like the time she wrote a letter to Myer to graciously inform them that they had used the wrong “you’re” in their in-store signage. Not only did they write back, they even amended the error. One small step for grammar, one GIANT ego boost for Louisa! Changing the world by erasing one superfluous apostrophe at a time.
Nestled amongst the countless puns and innuendoes, is a beautifully honest and heart-warming song entitled “Little Bookworm”. In this darling piece, Louisa shares what it was like growing up in her world, where books were her friends, and learning her priority. She paints the audience a picture of her life. A shy little girl, with difficulties fitting into social circles, at times secluded and more often than not found sitting alone in the library. At this point the audience’s hearts feel as if they may fall out of their chest, but thankfully this song does have a happy ending. The little bookworm finds solace in novels and language, and power in knowledge, and eventually learns to love herself and take pride in her passion. *Cue an enormous applause from every single audience member. I’m sure there was an inner bookworm in us all.
Louisa is not only talented beyond belief, and incredibly smart, she is also bilingual. Could she be more amazing? My answer is no. She incorporates French, and German – sharing her love for learning new languages. The amazing thing about this cabaret is that the audience leaves with a greater knowledge of these languages, including the German’s propensity for weird and wacky words. Like the word they use to describe someone who has put on a little weight after an emotional breakup. Translated it literally means “grief bacon”. Brilliant. The German word for Turkey, translates as “threatening chicken”. Seriously. This segment had the audience in stitches.
Louisa has also learnt sign language, and she shares with us some of her hilarious and somewhat unfortunate mishaps. For instance, when she was trying to tell her class she spent her holiday on a “boat” but actually signed the word “vagina”. She spent her entire holiday on a “vagina”. It really can’t get much better than that. Comedy gold!
Louisa ends her cabaret with a stunning and unique rendition of “What a Wonderful World”. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. She hands out four flags to the audience, Australian (English), French, German and Auslan (a picture of the sign for vagina). She asks those chosen audience members to hold up the flags when they wish for her to change languages. Louisa then performs the song, transitioning between languages with ease and finesse. She somehow manages to make the audience laugh, smile and sit in absolute awe of her abilities. It’s magic.
Comma Sutra is an exquisite cabaret, and played a wonderful five show season at the Butterfly Club last week. Keep your eyes peeled; hopefully this delicious show makes a return season next year. And remember the name Louisa Fitzhardinge, (silent e) that girl is definitely going places, most likely a fruit and veggie market near you, to complain about the incorrect use of quotation marks to promote “fresh” mangoes.
(And Louisa, I hope this review is grammatically on par, if not notes will be welcomed, but perhaps not encouraged.)