Saturday 21 October 2023

Gender is a Scam and I am Winning review (Melboune Fringe Festival)

On the surface, Josh Cake is a man, more specifically, a brown man. And if we want to be even more specific, he is a brown Australian man. But Cake doesn't ascribe to any of that and in his comedy cabaret, Gender is a Scam and I am Winning, they sing and share stories about how the structures of society should not limit you from being whatever you want to be.

Cake has a wonderfully warm presence on stage as he takes his audience through a fun evening of gentle but meaningful reflections and interrogations. He remains focused on the task with a strong sense of humour in both his stand-up routines as well as the musical numbers. There are instances where the material is a bit repetitive but Cake does well in expressing how labels are just labels and can easily be torn off. Not everyone can do this though, at least safely, and Cake acknowledges his privilege in this.

He goes on to unpack what it means to be a good man, and using White Ribbon's pledge to stop men's violence against women and as an extension, the behaviour of its ex-ambassador Andrew O'Keefe as examples of what not to do. There is a big difference between being an ally and the bare minimum that is required to be a decent human being, and wearing a ribbon or a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt does not make you the former.

Gender is a Scam and I am Winning
ends with Cake retelling the best joke he ever made, during the terrorist attack in Paris in 2015. While it's an interesting story, it is out of place in a show discussing race, nationality and gender. But just as how Cake is accepting and rejecting all ideas of race, nationality and gender, he can also accept and reject what he can do in his show. Everything is a scam and Cake is on their way to a win with this.

Show Details

Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Season: until 22 October | 9:30pm, Sun 8:30pm
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Concession
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image credit: Nick Robertson

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