[2008001] Andrea Gibbs is STARKERS

Andrea Gibbs is STARKERS (FringeTIX)

Andrea Gibbs @ The Garden Shed

7:00pm, Sat 16 Feb 2008

A quiet crowd of little more than a dozen – including a bunch of other Garden performers, I suspect – turned out on a sticky Saturday night. The Garden Shed, “improved” this year by some loosely-sprung floorboards, is its familiar humid self; the hot stage lighting didn’t exactly help matters. Thankfully, the “drinks inside” policy is very liberal.

First signs weren’t good – a projected voiceover, high on quality and low on laughs, struggles to raises a smile before Andrea appears onstage for the first of her three monologues – “Naked Ambition”. But right away, I’m sucked in by the familiarity of the life she portrays; we’re shown a child of the 70’s, steeped in the mystique and versed in the machismo of that golden era of that golden era of Australian cricket. The sport forms the backbone of this piece, allowing Gibbs to flesh her character (whose dreams are to be a streaker at the cricket) out beautifully. It’s a narrow – and shallow – characterisation, but well weighted, competently performed, and – with the exception of some jarring of eras of cricketing icons – well written.

(Ooooh – there’s currently a big yelling match between staff at the Quiet Waters :)

The voiceover returns as Gibbs’ mostly naked form streaks from the stage, noting that “those in the side seats may have seen a bit of booby.” (Correct!) There’s also a nice little general interest information about “party boobs” which seemed almost absurd in its inclusion and detail. In hindsight, however, it was a perfect prelude to the second monologue, which focused on the amazing abilities of one particular prison inmate. You’d think that twenty minutes of gags based on the ability to smuggle contraband in her “cooz” would’ve died early, but Gibbs keeps it fresh enough that the jokes never seem to get stale. There’s a tinge of tenderness in there, too, which makes it all the more fulfilling – and the recurrent muffled mobile phone ring still brings a smile to my face.

The final act – a widow who discovers the delights of sexual gratification through pain – seems to be a bit of a stretch, upon reflection. It seemed funny at the time, and I remember deliciously anticipating a spiraling devolution into a piercing gross-out fest which sadly never happened, but in the cool breeze of night it just doesn’t seem as arresting as the first two monologues.

So – was this worth the $14 paid? Probably. If this is the worst show I see all Fringe, I’d be pretty bloody happy. If it’s the best show I see all Fringe, I’d be pretty bloody pissed off. So there you have it – a decent show, nothing spectacular, but solid enough.

Plus, you get to see boobies ;)

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