Adrienne Truscott is not just ‘another fucking feminist performance artist’, and she wants you to know it. Though, one could be forgiven for making such an error. She opens sprawled, bare-assed across the stage, a coat-hanger around her neck, a bunch of roses in her hand and a pair of glitzy heels on her feet, as a video featuring Andy Kauffman and amateur wrestling plays behind her. Totally conscious of how ‘gimmicky’ her set-up is, Truscott unapologetically launches into a highly-self-aware, ironic and very clever stand-up routine which, while not a sequel to her successful first show, Asking For It, continues to develop her provocative observations about gender, sex and performance.
She’s promised the trolls she’ll keep her perfect pussy – ‘made of dreams and butter’ – more hidden than last time (though I did catch more than a few glimpses as her ‘dress’ swished from side to side), but that doesn’t mean Truscott has decided it’s time to cover up. Her performance art and burlesque background are apparent, in both ‘costume’ and style, but they serve only to enhance the delivery of what is otherwise a witty, sarcastic and very funny hour of stand-up. The show starts slow. Her opening anecdotes about her time as a stripper at The Crazy Lady in Texas in order to pay for performance art classes in the 90s (yep, really) have more of a fun-story-time tone than the usual barrage of laugh out loud punchlines. But it is an important set up, as the second half of the show really takes off. Truscott’s humour is tongue-in-cheek and very self-aware, and perhaps does rely on an audience who are willingly complicit in understanding her vast array of ironic allusions, and it’s true that such comedy is not for everyone. I was doubled over, wiping tears from my eyes far more than some others, but perhaps that’s reflective of the fact that I was the sole person to raise their hand when Truscott asked who in the audience was a feminist (come on, Adelaide, really?) Having said that, the cleverness of Truscott’s routine, and her reliance on references to other famous comedians – such as Andy Kauffman – do not mean that her humour is exclusionary, and her high energy and her jokes about cum-shots and hookers are sure to land successfully with a broad spectrum of tastes.
A few early-run technical errors meant that the climactic homage to irony lost some of its punch, but Truscott had won her audience wholeheartedly, and all was forgiven. If anything, I may have to return to see how a kink-free climax plays out. Adrienne Truscott is fabulously funny, provocative and exceptionally witty.
This review originally appeared on Dirt & Candy