At 9:30pm on a Tuesday night you’d forgive a city for being a little sleepy, but there is a buzz in Melbourne as I walk down Swanston St, it must be Comedy Festival time. I’m in town to see Anne Edmonds perform What’s Wrong With You?
The show begins with Edmonds introducing herself and we’re already away, launching into an hour of high-intensity laughs. Edmonds opens by interrogating the front row and a few pesky latecomers, immediately establishing a strong rapport with the audience. Being a Melburnian, Edmonds’s material is reassuringly local, but she doesn’t hold back. Right-wing, left-wing, nobody’s safe from her sharp commentary. With plenty of confidence, Edmonds challenges those who think they’re always right whilst retaining an endearingly Australian touch of self-deprecation.
Edmonds’s full armoury of comedic techniques are displayed with aplomb. Adept at channelling Australian archetypes through her vocal performance, tonight she effortlessly and excellently mimics both a mulleted Byron Bay child and a raging male boomer behind the wheel of a four-wheel drive. Her comedic timing is superb, the slightest pause draws extra laughter and monotony is kept at bay. The dramatic physicality used by Edmonds is crucial, helping to prevent a divide from forming between performer and crowd. When the aforementioned latecomers are trying to sneak in with their arms over their heads, she calls it out, re-enacts their scampering and then laughs along with us. “Eddo”, as she as known to her fans, is a master of live comedy.
Across the night, Edmonds gets personal with jokes about her home, family, work, religion and relationships, providing a window into her life without taking its events too seriously. I slowly feel like I know Edmonds, which is a testament to the quality of her performance, and I leave the venue with a smile. Anne Edmonds seems to have a great time performing What’s Wrong With You? and I definitely had a great time watching it, the show was the perfect way for me to kick off this year’s Comedy Festival.
What’s Wrong With You? by Anne Edmonds runs at The Melbourne Town Hall in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 28 March — 21 April 2019.