Canadian comedic songstress Shirley Gnome is back on Aussie shores for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In her 2017 offering, Taking It Up The Notch, Gnome proves why Canada’s Edmonton Journal has branded her ‘the Queen troubadour of intelligent black-comic sex balladry’.
Melbourne’s quirky Butterfly Club is the perfect setting for Gnome’s witty cabaret. From her opening number, the tone is swiftly set, as she sings sweetly about all the different objects one can insert into their nether-regions. The number is promptly followed by Gnome’s mention that, should anyone in the audience feel uncomfortable, this is the point at which they should leave. Make no mistake, this show is not for the faint-hearted.
Gnome continues with songs that make her audience cry with laughter but also ponder some deeply human questions. In ‘That’s Why Babies Cry’, her unwavering vocal is put to the ultimate test as she intimates a baby screaming at the top of its lungs. Later on in the show after a costume change, she sings about God blessing her proverbial ‘burning bush’ while dressed in a habit and holding a copy of the Bible.
Paying homage to her time on Aussie shores, perhaps the most undoubtedly ‘Australian’ moment in the show comes when Gnome sings about our excessive use of the c-word and its many different meanings. She even manages to sneak a cheeky ‘John Farnham ‘You’re The Voice’’ reference in to top it off.
Gnome is a gifted pop songwriter and with her witty, refreshingly honest lyrics perfectly juxtaposed against her sugary sweet vocal, it’s easy to see why she boasts sell-out shows across three continents.
Dani Smarrelli is the alter ego of Melbourne electro-pop artist NUSSY. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @nussymusic.