***** STARS

By Lyn Zelen

Geraldine Hickey does surprise with her trending anecdotes, animated expressions, and “slide-show” videos in her aptly named show “What A Surprise” at the 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show.

The full house audience of smiling, mask-less faces welcomed her to the Melbourne Town Hall Supper Room with whistles of cheer and long applause.

Geraldine’s no-nonsense, hilarious fast-paced show leaves you few chances to take a breath between gags.

She prefaced the show with her familiar brand of head tilt and quizzical raised eye-brows, noting it was written prior to the 2020 “lock-in” and made a quirky quip about “going to work at the office” and it set the room alight in laughter.

Embracing the buzzing full house, she invited members of the audience to discuss their awkward organising of past birthdays and disappointing lack of party attendees. Then went on to admit the shameless organising of her own surprise 40th birthday party, which her partner trumped into an evolving birthday weekend—including a subsequent fancy-dress party and winery tours.

Geraldine has an ingenious capacity for discovering the humour in hidden truths and delivering priceless one-liners. None more evident than when she described the “Apex Predators” theme of her birthday party and two men who were dressed in the most obvious of costumes.

Following her 2019 MCIF award nominated show “Things are Going Well”, she revisits weddings, proposals, engagement rings, her own proposal to her partner and plays one of the three amusing “reality-TV” style videos, featuring her early morning flight to Sydney to acquire her partner’s engagement ring.

She mentions her love of adventure and trying “black water rafting” in Bunbury, Western Australia. Giving a funny personal excuse for refusing to try the more famous tourist attraction, swimming with dolphins, she animated her ridiculous experience of floating along calm waters in a tyre tube one-size-too-large.

Her adventures extended to a reluctant zip-line ride. She gave a hysterical re-enactment of the ride stopping short at the end, leaving her hanging precariously over a forest canopy, while a short female attendant struggled to pull her back to the platform; made the audience break into fits of laughter.

In keeping with her many talents and comical “birds-eye-view” on life, take note of the quirky pre-show slides displaying her artwork of birds on stubby holders (she unabashedly informs are available online).

Geraldine Hickey’s intellectual and vivacious stand-up comedy breathes fresh air into the ridiculous theatre of life.