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Can I Get An Amen?!

Colleen L Edwards

Emerging young comedic talent impresses despite an uneven offering.
Can I Get An Amen?!

Image: Kaitlyn Rogers takes a swig of boxed wine during her peformance. Supplied.

A healthy love of kitsch, cult classics and female performers infuse this energetic one-woman show from Brisbane comedian and theatre maker Kaitlyn Rogers.

Emerging on stage in character as ‘Cecil’ a veteran of the ‘sermon industry’ – Rogers was an engaging figure throughout; with audience participation also a key component of the performance.

A show that developed from a short work debuted as part of last year’s Short + Sweet Festival (an event that showcases short theatre and cabaret works). At this Thursday night performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Turbine Studio, Rogers admitted this was her first time performing the revamped, full-length show.

It was a warm crowd to see her dance, drink ‘goon’ poured straight from the nozzle into her mouth and recite passages (or sermons) from some carefully selected texts (no spoilers here!).

The audience were directed to enter a mishmash world that mixed Rogers love of cult reality program RuPaul's Drag Race –(hence the title); the works and wisdom of Whoopi Goldberg (most specifically, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit) and some little known Australiana.

Although overall there was an upbeat and irreverent vibe of her show. The supportive nature of the audience (this opening night was filled with family and friends) seemed to encourage her to take the show in an entirely different direction – at one point to speak out about the down sides to being a woman in comedy.

While sharing some of the burdens of being the lone female on a comedy bill; she broke character to discuss a story that is sadly most topical at the moment – that being the harassment of women in their work spaces.

While people should never be discouraged from speaking out – the way it was integrated into the performance was quite jarring and initially confused the audience. As Rogers develops and matures as a performer, you imagine she'll be able to work in these important themes in a more effective and seamless manner.

However, she was quickly able to reset to again tread a comedic path. There were some threads that remained unexplored; including the small matter of the unexplained Shannon Noll cardboard cut-out that stood on stage alongside her.

Despite these few issues, it is always encouraging to see fresh and emerging performers putting their work out on display, especially when for the most part is done in a spirit of good fun.

3 out of 5 stars

Can I Get An Amen?! 
Part of the Wonderland Festival 2017
Presented by Nolsy Was Robbed Inc in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Colleen Edwards is a Brisbane-based reviewer for ArtsHub.

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