Review | ‘Alissia Marsh – King of the Lesbians’ celebrates diversity

Alissia Marsh – King of the Lesbians | Bark Subiaco | Feb 1,7,8 | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

One of the great things about the Fringe Festival is that it gives you an excuse to discover venues that are hidden gems of Perth and the surrounding suburbs. Bark is an intimate bar where it is almost compulsory to engage in a game of Uno but there are many other games available.

Located at the end of Hay St in Subiaco, across the road from where the Waldeck Nursery used to be and approximately where the Ace Cinema was located once upon a time, about 40 people assembled to watch stand-up comedian Alissia Marsh. Some were eating pizzas from Crust next door and playing Uno as they waited.

This locally grown comedian is a product of Wanneroo Senior High School and her job at Office Works allows her to mine some of the humour that livens up her work day. One of her strengths, which is probably essential given the intimacy of the space, is that she actively interacts with the audience.

Alissia did a shout-out survey as to the composition of her Saturday night audience and there seemed to be many more straight people who had come to see her than GLBTI members of the audience … either that or they had louder voices. The ‘older straight couple’ sitting next to me said that their lesbian daughter had inspired their night out.

Another strength is that she is revealingly honest and outspoken about enjoying your diversity and she uses her own differences to encourage acceptance. The program coyly announces that she has “remarkable body quirks” and one of them is that she has four fingers on each hand … that’s four fingers and no thumb. Fascinating as well as the source of many hilarious situations, real and imagined that Alissia entertains her audience with.

As with all the best comedy, there is a touch of seriousness, and Alissia is a strong advocate for acceptance of intersex people. She is certainly very brave to address such a complex issue, but she is correct when she says that there is a need to talk about it.

Catch the King of the Lesbians at Bark in Subiaco on Saturday 1 February or at the Sail and Anchor in Fremantle on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February.

Lezly Herbert has jumped from dance (ran a ballet school) to drama (was Camille in Lady of the Camellias at uni) to film (tutoring at Murdoch Uni) to teaching to philosophising (has a Masters in Philosophy from UWA). She has been reviewing films, books, dance and theatre since the dark ages (1996).

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