You can tell a lot by the way that someone chooses to present themselves with their clothes and hair, but is the reverse also true? Amy Cunningham’s Eat the Teeth explores how having a new haircut given to her caused her to, all of a sudden, take up veganism and dating women.
Of course, this is silly, especially when it comes to sexuality, but there is certainly something to the idea that outward expressions of internal characteristics can empower them and bring them more to the fore. Possibly because everyone can ‘tell a lot’ by your self-expression and they encourage the expression of those characteristics. It’s all one, big, snowball.
Cunningham has a knack for self-examination in her comic observations, preferring to explore her own experiences, and it brings with it a navel-gaze-y pace that didn’t quite hold me the whole way through the show, even as I was enjoying the material. Even there, Cunningham’s discussion of social pressures and gatekeeping come to mind as she discusses the imaginary benchmarks people require to be a ‘real’ vegan, LGBTIQA person, or even a comedian. There were some jitters the night I saw Cunningham perform, she was clearly experiencing the sound bleed of the Imperial Hotel’s extremely thin walls for the first time and it may have been preventing her from truly finding her rhythm and comfort on the stage.
We were also treated to a quick opening set from one of her friends, a fellow Canadian comedian who at no time actually introduced himself to us. Although I did find out his name afterwards because Cunningham told us the time of his show later in the night. He was good, so maybe his show is also good, but who knows how to find him? Not this audience.
I am aware that my hesitations around Cunningham’s show are purely stylistic and that other people will get into it far more, especially once she is more comfortable in the performance space, so I would definitely recommend people to check out the clips available online and make their own judgements about it.
Eat the Teeth is on at the Imperial Hotel as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until 21 April. For tickets, show times and accessibility information, head to the MICF website.