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British comic Francesca Martinez has become a popular figure in her home country, particularly through her early role in teen drama Grange Hill and her memorable appearance alongside Ricky Gervais in Extras. This show aimed to explore the concept of "normal", its absurdity and inherent non-existence.
An upbeat audience virtually filled the upstairs of Hairy Little Sista, where Martinez recounted her life with cerebral palsy, her dealings with menfolk and finding happiness with her Irish partner. There was poetry, quips about politicians and bankers, the vacuousness of old schoolmates and her travails in an industry where, at least on television, her disability can be a serious career impediment.
This marvellous show offers a chance to see a performer who, although rightly credited as someone who has bravely countered a lifelong disability, also has superb comedic ability matched only by her startling insight, sensitivity and human awareness. Always engaging and at times spellbinding, the adorable Martinez deserves much more than to be labelled as being a comic with a disability. If you haven't seen her work before, then this show should not be missed.
VENUE: The Upstairs Lounge @ Hairy Little Sista - 240 Little Collins St, Melbourne
WHEN: 11/4/12 - 22/4/12, Wed-Sun 6:30pm (50 mins)
BOOKINGS: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 and at the door
PRICES: Full $26, Concession $22, Preview $18
WEB: Francesca Martinez
Reviewed 13 April by Mark Sinnott