Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Feel good stand up comedy about the NT
Amy Hetherington is in Melbourne for the Comedy Festival as the Northern Territory's ambassador, to persuade us all to move up there and help resolve their population crisis. Apparently, there's been millions of dollars spent on inviting people to the NT's "Boundless Possible", and I reckon her show more than deserves a formal place in that campaign.
Hetherington welcomes every audience member individually at the door with hot chips and sauce on a pretty plate, with a big warm smile that never once leaves her face for the duration of the show. She is good vibes personified, overflowing with honesty and kind words and a wholesome ability to laugh at herself and where she's from. She's got insightful jokes about most of Australia's major cities - Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, and the WA, but she's careful to be especially gracious about Melbourne and make her audience feel loved. There is a lot of audience interaction, but unlike regular stand up comedy where an audience member might feel nervous about being roasted, this is a show where if you're singled out, you'll be showered with compliments instead.
The show title, Where They Hide The Crazy, is a reference to where she's from (the Northern Territory), quoting from a review of one of her previous shows. In true Hetherington style, she embraces it with a broad smile and her contagious energy and provides a detailed exposition on all the things that make this true. She talks about the humidity, the sweat, the skewed gender ratio, and of course the main highlight, the NT News. She also frequently "overshares", segueing between stories about her love life, her body, her underwear struggles, surprise chicken nuggets, and generally unconventional, chilled-out ways of experiencing the world. While all these stories and jokes are presented in a style that is consistently light and always entertaining, there are also some deeper things to be gleaned from them - such as happy feminism and self-love.
Where They Hide The Crazy is a feel-good show which is as substantial as it is entertaining. Amy Hetherington is a congenial performer who gently teases you out of your comfort zone with her interactive oversharing but keeps you feeling safe with her warmth and kindness. If by the end of her show you're not persuaded to move to the NT, you will, at the very least, find yourself hoping to see Amy Hetherington in Melbourne again.