Australian arts jobs, news, industry commentary, career advice, reviews & data


What's On

Tegan Higginbotham: Game Changer

Lisa Marshall

The Higginbotham experience is fresh, harmless and memorable.
Tegan Higginbotham: Game Changer

Sitting at a Higginbotham show feels like being surrounded by old friends. Impossible not to like, the bubbly Higginbotham is more of an enthusiastic pixie than the self-described ‘trendy five year old boy’. Higginbotham chats in such a cultured and witty manner that the audience feels that they are being charmed by an acquaintance, rather than watching a performance.

Game Changer is labelled as sports related, being the third edition of a trilogy. The show does not have an entirely in-depth sports focus and Higginbotham chooses to focus on what sporting culture means to her. As she entered adulthood, Higginbotham found her religious compass pointing towards sport.


The show is a summary of sport versus religion, family and personal experiences. Higginbotham struggles with the idea of being labelled as a young adult and makes an amusing mockery of Gen Y. Unlike her prior shows, Higginbotham takes more of a feminism angle on sport that is nonetheless appealing to all demographics.

Higginbotham makes the audience feel comfortable in her opening by laughing at her new room ‘having a ceiling’ and showing off her tatty ‘happy shoes’.

The performer manages to bring humour to issues such as female athletes using the concept that ‘sex sells’ to gain recognition. She questions emerging ‘fad’ female sports such as the Lingerie (Legends) League and Pole Dancing and queries whether it is empowering to participate. She suggests that if you are going to talk about something, surely you need to try it too!

Higginbotham’s performance may not be well structured, but it is relatable. It is easy to laugh along with the bright girl who is laughing at herself. The jokes aren’t cheap and many of the lines are thought provoking.

Confessing herself to be a true nerd, Higginbotham has the ability to tie Harry Potter jokes to pole dancing experiences and the Lingerie League to a 1950s time warp. She can successfully compare a cricket player to a ‘giant poo’ and espouses the necessity of educated opinions with a hand puppet.

The comedian’s substantial charm and her acknowledgement of her lamer jokes makes her an accomplished performer. Higginbotham does not speak controversially and her minimal dirty jokes are accompanied by giggles from herself. Collingwood supporters excepted, it is impossible to be offended by Higginbotham.

Higginbotham does not rely on many props and unless you are an avid sports fan, the symbolism of the closing prop may be lost on some people.

The Higginbotham experience is fresh, harmless and memorable. Relevant and hilarious for all ages, this loveable sports fanatic is one to see.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Game Changer
By Tegan Higginbotham

Portland Hotel, Cnr Russell and Lt Collins Sts
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
7 - 20 April

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

Lisa Marshall is a freelance writer and ArtsHub employee. Based in Melbourne, Lisa reviews restaurants, bars and sporting events.