by | Apr 4, 2023

By Heather Bosted

A debut cabaret about one woman’s journey to make her boobs smaller. Underwire is punchy, brilliant, original, hilarious, and full of pathos.

Opening with some destigmatising of all words to do with breasts and nipples, especially for the dad’s in the audience, the tone is set and we’re on board.  With parodies of songs rededication to the burden of boobs and the empowerment of choice we’re taken down memory lane from callous catcalling, the school swimming carnival and judgemental bra shop ladies.

Gemma Caruana is the new face and brain of modern cabaret. This discipline can be fearful for new theatre goers to see but anyone who has any reservations, throw them out the window (along with your bras!). This show beautifully articulates the complexities of life with breasts and will have you dying with laughter every second line.

Caruana opens her mouth to sing, and magic comes out, her voice is sweet and powerful. We’re taken on a journey of Gemma’s life growing up, often hilarious and often bleak; the forced sexualising of young girls hits us the same way an overenthusiastic a young and competitive pre-sports bra Gemma was hit in the eye during a school skipping rope competition (don’t worry you get a full enactment.)

With flawless comedic timing, Gemma has the audience eating out of her hand. This is her story, and she is in full control.

The show hits all the points you want from an intelligent comedy show, any Melbourne comedy festival audience goer would be lucky and thrilled to have seen it. Caruana is delightfully charming and wry, perfectly balancing cheeky audience engagement and storytelling. Underwire is tightly written with no dead spaces, Caruana’s energy carries us the whole show while still allowing for moments of reflection in more serious moments.

Sarah Frencham direction is intelligent. Creating fullness in a small stage, and homages to old school cabaret trademarks. Underwire is both entirely fresh and fully realised in its genre.

Musical Director Connor Dariol, plays piano beautifully, and moves effortlessly from perfect dead pan accompaniment to a high school PE teacher.

Underwire is a tender and brilliant masterpiece. It starkly shows the grim and dangerous reality of womanhood whilst never once missing a punchline.

Part one woman show, part musical joy ride through youth. This cathartic comedy is the antidote we all need in our lives, and you’ll be sorry if you miss it.

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