Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is an energetic journey through the life and innermost thoughts of comedian Joana Simmons’s aerobics instructor, mixing theatre, gym, and comedy cleverly to create a character who is both larger than life, and deeply human.

Held at the Tandanya Arts Café, Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is the story of Joy, the over-eager instructor of the title, as she takes us through her confessions related to her profession. Interspersed with these confessions are re-enactments and pieces related to each one, with each more personal than the last. All this occurs while Simmons struts around the stage as Joy in her best 80s style lycra get-up, doing a lot of physical activity during the fifty minute show. Simmons’s energy matched that of her maniacally devoted aerobics instructor, to the point it almost felt lazy just sitting there watching her while she worked so hard.

Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is absolutely hilarious and so polished as a show, it’s obvious Simmons has put a lot of time into writing and rehearsing it. She inhabits the character of Joy so effortlessly, even ad-libbing with ease when the occasion arose, that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Simmons confessed that Joy is actually the other half of a secret double life she is living.

While the laughs were continuous, towards the end it gets quite moving when Joy gets real about her insecurities and failings as not only an aerobics instructor, but also a person. This injected the character with a real sense of depth and made her seem more human, rather than just the hyper-real fitness fanatic presented throughout the show. There’s a real sense of sorrow, with the audience even reacting with an audible sigh at one point. Joy can’t be kept down though, with the show finishing with the same humour shown throughout, and a sense that she will soldier on and keep practicing the aerobics life, much to the delight of the audience.

Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is both hilarious and moving, an absolute gem from start to finish. Joana Simmons has written a show full of energy and a character that is slightly out of this world. This is comedy and theatre at its absolute best – pardon the pun, but I recommend everyone should get a bit of Joy into their lives. See this before the season ends.

5 Stars

Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor runs until Sunday the 3rd of March. Buy tickets HERE.


By Tania Nicholas