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Fringe review: Kitty Flanagan - Smashing

Adelaide Fringe

How did comedian Kitty Flanagan go with her 90-minute stab at sex, porn culture, relationships, internet advertising algorithms and porpoises? ★★★★½

Flanagan is a traditional stand-up in many ways: a highly relatable story-teller and truth-teller.

But this is a sophisticated and generous version of the form, with her apparently wildly veering stories and observations woven cleverly together over an hour-and-a-half of smart comedy at the Royalty Theatre.

“Smashing” is a reference to “the only verb you’ll ever need”. Drinking a coffee? Nah, I’m “smashing” it.

But the monologue quickly moves from the Gen X comedian’s disquiet at a younger generation’s “smashing” of the language to her declaration that she’ll confront one of her great fears: talking about sex.

And she does this – at length. And while it’s the kind of high energy, constantly funny stuff you’d expect from one of Australia’s most experienced comedians, it’s also threaded with truths about contemporary culture – the ridiculous expectations on young women drawn from porn culture, the struggles of body image, the stupidity of online dating questionnaires and the intrusions on privacy from the Internet.

But don’t imagine that it’s dull and worthy: the ticket price is worth it just for her spot-on impersonations of American nature documentaries, watching sex scenes on TV when you’re with your parents and Cirque du Soleil. They all fit together, with the ridiculous nature of a gamut of everyday situations gradually revealed and then skewered.

Flanagan, well known for her appearances on The Project and as the intolerant and jargon-laden PR manager Rhonda on the ABC’s Utopia, often takes the self-deprecating route – her relationship failures and the like – but all the time with the sense that, despite it all, she loves who she is and what she does and is endlessly fascinated by the world. It’s an appealing combination.

Yeah, she smashed it.

Smashing is playing at the Royalty Theatre until March 18. Read more InDaily Fringe reviews and stories here.

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