The Breast of the Fest represents upcoming female comedians and those interested alike. A show offering an hour dedicated to voices, representation and comfort in the spirit of feminism. Each night showcases four from a rotation of six comedians and one “guest breast” which allows the ever-changing line up to be enjoyed more than once.
It’s a welcome change from when I first started going to comedy rooms 10 years ago. I recall the first few open mic nights I attended were filled with male comedians and occasionally one or two women. I felt, at the very least, disappointed and concerned that it was a possibility that women interested in comedy felt pressure or were not welcome to attempt to perform. After years of witnessing ridiculous debates about whether women were even funny, I was glad to see nights that would exclusively sign up women and saw opportunities rise considerably.
Rose Bishop opened the night with a burst of confidence. She set the tone of the night well and had the sold out crowd amsued and intrigued as we were led through a tale of her unashamed mix up between “a couple of dads” in Bunnings. After a strong finish, she introduced our next comedian, Gamze Kirik. Her timid and giddy style carried the crowd through jokes about adult braces and alterations of her name, with her whimsical timing working well throughout.
Katherine Allen followed with a strong, energetic set. Her well seasoned style comforted the room as she professionally took us on a wild ride of material about the Gold Coast and her dad’s approach to dad jokes, before finishing on the relatable battle between gym workouts and late night Uber Eats orders. Rounding out the main acts was the delightful Aurelia St Clair, whose charming deadpan delivery was a powerful companion to her raw and angsty material. As she catered the crowd through an opening slow reveal of her heritage before continuing to express her observations on languages and baby names, her warming and uplifting intensity was felt by all during her entire time on stage.
The guest breast this evening was the wonderful Alex Ward. She treated the room to a fun and unapologetic set about pending friend requests on Facebook and Espresso Martinis. Ward’s connection with a crowd is as masterful as it is mesmerising, even when reciting us through a dark round of the game Would You Rather?
As well as entertaining, the night does its part to collect donations for the Light The Way Home project, a very necessary cause designed to offer any at-risk performers a safe way home each night. The Breast Of The Fest is a fun and refreshing show, teasing some top quality and distinguishable local names that will have you leaving with a want to see more from each of the individuals involved.
Breast of the Fest is on at Trades Hall until 21 April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available online via the comedy festival website, or at the door.