Review | ForniKATEress: Secrets of a polyamorous life

ForniKATEress | Henry Summer | til Feb 7 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Call me naïve, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I even heard the word ‘polyamorous’. As Kate Smurthwaite is often asked, I just thought it was a euphemism for being, well, a “…a bit of a slag”.

How wrong I was!

Through a thoroughly entertaining and hilarious one-hour show at Northbridge’s Henry Summer, I learnt that polyamory is a sincere – and perhaps sensible – alternative to the monogamous existence most yearn for or feel is morally ‘right’.

As I walked into the Green Room at Henry Summer, dance music thumped, and my eyes were immediately drawn to Smurthwaite, dressed in a sexy blue, all-denim number, oozing the type of sexuality that men often want but are equally afraid of. As the crowd took their seats, a large screen in the background projected a host of hurtful –  albeit funny – social media comments the comedian has received over the years, setting the scene for the kind of delicious self-deprecating humour that ensued.

Punctuated with hilarious anecdotes, such as uncomfortable encounter with Eurovision popstar Conchita Martinez, and cracking one-liners (“A dick never lies”), Smurthwaite proceeded to amusingly and artfully cover all the big questions surrounding polyamory: When did it start? Don’t you get jealous? How does it work? And so on.

One of my favourite parts of the show, which also illustrates Smurthwaite’s decision to live a polyamorous life, involved a graph entitled ‘The Life Happiness Curve’.  While tricky to explain without an illustration, the comedian explained that monogamous relationships begin from a low “needy” stage and then rapidly ascend to “all the good stuff”. However, once all this “good stuff” has been achieved, the monogamous relationship just as rapidly declines until it hits a plateau called “death adjacent”, a barren landscape where neither person speaks to one another, let alone finds them mildly attractive. Perhaps it sounds a little complicated in words – that’s why you just need to see the show. While a tad fatalistic and depressing, it’s a sad trajectory I’ve seen many a monogamous couple follow.

While enjoying a beer with friends after the show in the beautiful garden surrounds of the Henry Summer Bar, we agreed that Smurthwaite’s brilliance lies in her engagement with the crowd, her sarcasm and wit, and her ability to take the proverbial piss out of herself for our enjoyment. Our only criticism would be the references she makes about “posh” people and situations during a section of the show. As one woman commented in a particularly thick Aussie accent, “Aussies just don’t ‘get’ posh.” And perhaps they don’t and that’s why they like Kate Smurthwaite so much.  A must-see experience.  

ForniKATEress will be at Henry Summer until Wednesday 7th February. Tickets and more information available from

Wade Zaglas

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