Taking It Up The Notch @ Adelaide Fringe Review

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Taking It Up The Notch @ Adelaide Fringe Review Image © Rufio Van Hoover
If the majority of human life emerges from the vagina then the majority of human existence can be related back to the vagina. This is Canadian smut songstress Shirley Gnome’s philosophy, and she spends a riotous hour proving its validity.

It would be very hard to simply create an entire show or indeed an entire career devoted solely to mating. Because of this, each song is impregnated with other themes: death, the Bible, veganism and the Australian vernacular.

The underpinning theme of the show is that Shirley has signed a record deal since her last visit. This is quite a loose narrative; the show thrives on the stories within each track. Most ballads start with an innocuous verse, in the saccharine style of Dolly Parton, before delivering a spectacularly unanticipated dose of hilarity somewhere around the chorus.

Aware that her material may cause offence to some, she wittily gives the squeamish a chance to escape after the first song. None left on this night, while others had clearly come back for more.

She has earned a devoted following among a particular demographic; rowdy middle aged men in crisp business shirts were proudly adorned in merch from her previous season. It is possible that they do not grasp the subversion beneath, or maybe they do.

Shirley Gnome, like the garden gnome, is at home in the dirt and it is a pleasure getting filthy with her.


'Taking It Up The Notch' plays The Parlour at Royal Croquet Club until 19 March.


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