Memoirs of an Aisha is a whimsical tale of what a country gal has to do to win her ‘hot-blooded dairy farmer’ boyfriend back when he falls for a local girl in Japan. It’s kind of like steak and chips meets wasabi that, judging by the laughter in the audience, was going down a treat.
Kate Hanley debuted Memoirs of an Aisha at the Melbourne Fringe in 2012, so this is only her second outing showcasing this show and her skills as a comedian/performer. I truly admire anyone who has the balls to get up and do comedy and Henley handles the material and her performance with confidence and zeal. One of the best things about this show is that Henley seems to be having a blast.
In terms of comedy, Hanley’s strengths lie in her ability to overinflate the nuances of her characters and situations, which reaches for a kind of absurdism. Her dance with Sumo (in character as Aisha) is hilarious and demonstrates that words aren’t always necessary to drive a narrative or inspire laughter. I’d love to see Hanley use more devices like this rather than traditional narrative in her comedy. Again her use of cinematics to portray a love scene is great, but I think it would be funnier without the voice-over to avoid the comedy being too obvious.
A mention must go to the very talented Dairy Chicks (Libby Sherring and Emma Hart) who back Henley vocally and musically. Their song “Cherry Blossom”, with vocals and a harp, was nothing short of divine.