Helen Bidou: Enter the Spinnaker Lounge

5 out of 5 stars
Helen Bidou
Photograph: Supplied

The fashion expert from ABC’s Get Krack!n breaks out with a solo show that’s sarong it’s sa-right

Anne Edmonds' breakout comedy character – the appallingly marvelous Helen Bidou – was always too big to be confined by the two dimensions of TV.

This year Bidou's live act was one of the biggest hits at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, winning rave reviews across the board and adding a whole stack of additional shows. Now it's Sydney's turn to see the show, which was nominated for the prestigious Barry Award for best show.

Read Helen Razer's five-star review of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival season of Enter the Spinnaker Lounge:

I didn’t write any words down in the Spinnaker Lounge – the fictional late-night bar in which fictional late-night outrage Helen Bidou performs a cabaret-infomercial. This is for two reasons. First, there is laughter so physical it destroys all motor control. Second, a show like this can never be evoked in words.

What do you say when you’ve been pissing yourself for an hour? That this show is wonderful. That this show is gross. That this show may not appeal to persons who prefer comedy built on an intellectual foundation. It will appeal to those who can happily commit to stupidity.

Anne Edmonds’ Bidou is, by no means, the product of stupidity. She’s an elaborate hysteric whose suburban origin story feels as complete as Dame Edna’s, far better charted than that of either Kath or Kim. Her language is borrowed from morning television, discount vouchers and the sort of ballads sung by X-Factor contestants. Her identity, like Edna’s, is borrowed from delusion. She is a proud Australian who bakes in Bali, an entrepreneur who trades in stolen goods. She’s an ingenue with an adult son, played by Sam Campbell. Who must be commended for his first-rate Oedipal anxiety.

To date, all published reviews have praised this 18+ show, but do so for its seeming sloppiness or spontaneity. The Bidou persona may be chaotic, but I don’t think we can say that of the Bidou conception. I’m pretty certain all cues are triggered and all sarongs fall down at the precise moment of their planning. I’m pretty certain Anne Edmonds is a mastermind producer of big, dumb laughs.

By: Helen Razer


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