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By Adam Rafferty

Continuing the unofficial theme of this year’s festival – What I Did on My Pandemic – Geraldine Hickey’s Now I’ve Got a Boat is surprising, in that while it is definitely a journal of what she did over the last couple of years, it also has a very clear theme overriding that. As suggested by the title, the larger theme is, for want of a better term, ‘Nautical’!

It kicks off by linking straight to its theme and telling the tale of how Melbourne resident, Hickey and her COVID health-worker partner bought a tinnie boat, with the thoughts of expanding their 5km lockdown radius out into Port Phillip Bay. The seller was a fifteen-year-old who clearly had more seafaring skills than they did, and unfortunately they didn’t think too hard about how they were going to pilot the ship before they reached their local boat ramp, leading to hilariously embarrassing results for Hickey.

Somewhere afterwards, Hickey found herself able to fly to Tasmania to perform and then unable/uninclined to return to Victoria, with the approval of her partner who was buried in COVID double-shifts, she stuck around. The naturally laid-back and casually intoned Hickey would have fit in beautifully in Launceston, while visiting such wondrous sites as Seahorse World, (it’s just across the road from Platypus World, if you’re wondering) and coming across a wonderfully evolved ‘fish with hands’ that made for some excellent visual punchlines.

Eventually, returning to Victoria seemed a less attractive option than visiting family in WA, thanks to having been in Tassie long enough not to have to quarantine in Perth. So, after visiting her relatives, a trip north to Monkey Mia for incredibly persistent multiple attempts at an up-close experience with a dolphin were in order. Then further north to Ningaloo Reef, for a less successful photo op with a whale shark and an hilariously ill-fated excursion on a sea kayak. All in all, not a bad way to avoid a lockdown in Melbourne!

So how do you end, such a surprisingly thematic routine about the last couple of years? You bring that theme to life in 3D! Wetsuit, floating fish, bubbles and all. It’s a super fun, if perhaps little too protracted way to end to a splashy and fun routine.