Beginning with an electrifying energy, Deanne Smith knows how to make an entrance.
Utilising the intimacy of having an audience so close to the stage, she had the audience in instant stitches from the moment she walked on stage.
Deanne’s show is personal – recounting stories of family and ex-girlfriends, the comedy of her show lies in the audience’s ability to relate to her awkward, unfortunate and just out-right hilarious life experiences. This is my favourite kind of comedy – when comedians run off what they're given (the audience) with very little (read: no) time to plan. It's spontaneous and exciting. I mean, who doesn't love watching an audience member slowly try and shrink into oblivion after a comedian practically writes them into the show?
Unfortunately as the show progressed, Deanne’s grip on the audience began to loosen. Referring consistently to notes she had on stage (very loosely masked by frequent sips from her water bottle), Deanne eventually slipped into the trap that I’ve found a few comedians slip into when they find they’re running out of material – talking about being gay. Maybe back in the 90s/early 2000s, talking about homosexuality was a reliably ‘shocking’ topic to speak freely about in public and therefore could guarantee laughs. But it’s now 2015, and homosexuality isn’t “new” or “shocking”, it’s just….normal. The second half of Deanne’s show was an endless parade of what it’s like to be a lesbian and it just…wasn’t that funny. The laughter started to die out and Deanne even began pointing out “Well that didn’t get the reaction it normally does”. Maybe because we don’t find 'just being a homosexual' outright hilarious.
Don’t get me wrong, Deanne has got loads of potential. But the show felt under-rehearsed and insecure in a lot of places that began turning raucous laughter into “laughter-because-it-feels-appropriate-to-do-this-at-a-comedy-festival” laughs. I would love to see Deanne in a years time when hopefully she can relax into the room a bit more and hopefully bust out some ukulele that was very amiss in this show (if you’ve got a shtick, stick to it!).