The Northern Territory Government could do worse than to employ Amy Hetherington as its official tourism ambassador.
Hetherington’s Adelaide Fringe show, Where They Hide The Crazy, is, in its affectionate lambasting of the Territory and all of its quirky oddities, actually a masterclass in reverse psychology – tempting even the most committed stay-at-home Adelaidean to check out the much maligned land of ‘butt sweat’ and ‘boundless possible’ (as the NT Government tourism slogan so ineloquently puts it).
The young comedian comes across as effervescently likeable. She offers her audience a bowl of hot chips with or without tomato sauce at the door at the start of the show – because her scheduled performance time cuts into the audience’s usual meal routines – and her smiling energy is beguiling and infectious from the minute she takes the stage.
She keeps her routine running at full pace throughout, without pause, as she ‘over shares’ with us her stories of the myriad ways her adopted Darwin home has steadily eroded all of her former pretence at ‘giving a fuck’.
Nothing is sacred in the Top End it seems. She describes the way the heat and humidity has forced locals to give up on social niceties and the subtleties of forming relationships – as well as having the audience examine a pair of her used undies to show how the extreme conditions also cause knicker elastic to rapidly disintegrate.
As is usual in stand up these days, this gifted comic also picks helpless saps from the audience to occasionally be the butt of jokes and asides, as well as to serve as a redirecting device between otherwise unlinked sketches and jokes.
Hetherington, however, has a unique variation on this approach – she chooses to bombard her chosen audience member target with compliments and kindness whilst still making this funny. Her kindness only stretches so far though and she is forced to confess, though, that she just does not have the budget to let this particular evening’s obliging gent keep the gift she has given him as a reward for his goodhearted involvement!
As the last gag rolls around it seems that the show is finishing much too soon, and the whole audience seems more than happy to spend more time in this gregarious and genuinely amusing woman’s company.
Amy Hetherington is an extremely talented comedian and, on the strength of this performance, deserves a sell-out Fringe season before she heads off to the Melbourne Comedy Festival where, no doubt, further fame and fortune await her.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Amy Hetherington: Where They Hide The Crazy is performed in the Ferguson Room at the National Wine Centre, on the corner of Hackney Road & North Terrace, Hackney, at 6:00pm until Friday 1 March. Get tickets for all shows HERE.