Judith Wright Centre, Shopfront
July 23 – 26
“#FirstWorldWhiteGirls” is a cabaret show that delves into the ‘trauma’ of being a white girl. Don’t be dissuaded by the apparent exclusivity within its title, however; first world white girl problems are not just for hipsters or bogans. You might even be a first world white girl hybrid yourself. You don’t have to be white, or even a girl; it’s more of a state of mind.
And it is this familiarity that performers Judy Hainsworth and Kaitlin Oliver Parker are relying upon, for not only are audience members left laughing at the spoiled songstresses, but right along with them, in shared love of all things coffee, Wi-Fi and social media and hatred of op shops, hippies and Australian tv.
There is an unwritten rule in the theatre, that you should avoid the front seats at comedy and cabaret shows, lest you find yourself part of the show and while “FirstWorldWhiteGirls” does include some audience participation, it is mostly comfortably en masse as audience members cathartically write down and submit their own first world problems to be shared by the girls with the group. This represents one of funniest sections of the show as contributors empathise with the trivialities of each other’s shameful first world dilemmas, from (on opening night), having to drink Pepsi when there is no Coke, repost on Instagram due to its lack of edit function or not being able to get to sleep at night after having had an afternoon nap. The delivery and comment from the performers about these contributions showcases their quick wit and is never anything but good-natured.
As a double act, Hainsworth and Parker’s is a comic pairing in which much of the humour is derived from the relationship between two, with Parker playing the straight man role in her reactions to Hainsworth’s excitable antics. It is a proven formula and it works well as Hainsworth enthusiastically attempts to provide the audience with lessons in utorrenting, returning clothes after wear and choosing a tanning salon. Regardless of the topic, whether it is in song, anecdote or skit, everything that these characters have to say, is light-hearted, even the occasional political mentions. And that is ok; in fact it is one of the marvellous things about cabaret.
The duo’s vocal talents are showcased in a range of original songs in a variety of musical styles from a country tale of buyer’s remorse to a folksy final sing-along to “Entitled”. Parker is particularly impressive in an operatic serenade to her iPhone, whereas Hainsworth is very Elle Woods-ish as she sings of how ‘things would be easier if I was dumb’ (or ‘is that if I were dumb?’ she asks).
I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than in the company of these engaging, all too familiar characters; despite their privilege and ignorance, they are impossible to dislike. If you are a fan of trashbaggery tv, worship at the altar of Ryan Gosling and hate having to confine comments to 140 characters, make sure you catch the first world fabulousness of Judy at the Judy (and Kaitlin). #nohippies
Photo c/o – http://judithwrightcentre.com/