In Grace, Katie Reddin-Clancy Tackles The Big Issues With Laughter
This one-woman theatre show brings forward a plethora of issues, packaged in comedy.
The true skill of a talented comedian comes out when they can tackle real-world issues and make people laugh. British actress and comedian Katie Reddin-Clancy nails this in GRACE, taking her audience on the journey of a comedian.
One quote has always stuck with Reddin-Clancy, by music legend David Bowie: “Always go a little bit out of your depth. And, when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something great.”
This advice carried her through GRACE. She asked herself the big question: ‘How do I become myself?’
To Reddin-Clancy, it was about waking up to what she already knew.
“I wanted characters that I would spend time with, get sucked into their story, and who’d leave a lasting impression. Someone who’s been on a journey. And I wanted to do this by exploring the fertile area where theatre and stand-up meet,” says Reddin-Clancy.
Her captivating solo theatre show, here for Adelaide Fringe Festival, is stand-up comedy with a difference. Directed by Peter Blackburn, Reddin-Clancy embodies various roles using creative costumes and innovative design. Set in a haunted regional theatre – the part of the entertainment industry no-one wants to know – creativity fights to survive.
GRACE is home to a host of ‘characters’ including Sheryl (the very British venue hostess), Anna Clamber (the Anna Wintour-esque, power hungry theatrical agent), and Audrey (the Joyce Grenville tribute act).
The show confronts tough topics across gender, mental health in the arts, spiritualism and the importance of supporting the arts industry. It’s a witty, passionate, and captivating call to embrace and be true to yourself.
“It was inspired by one of my dear friends who came out as transgender. I was touched by the issues that she faced and the ferocity with which she faced them. I can’t wait to get back to Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival with a show to make them proud,” she says.
“I remember thinking how hard it would be to feel like you’re in the wrong body. I want people to feel empowered to be who they want to be. I have a line that we need to all do – push the ‘f*ck it!’ button – and not be satisfied with dissatisfaction.”
When asked about her perspective of gender and mental health issues in comedy, she replied:
“It depends what we all mean by gender. Is it the body, our identities or how we feel or express? Is it how we show up in the world, what gender roles we take on or how society uses these roles to put us into neat boxes? People need to ‘make sense’ of it all in a graph.”
Part of the battle, she says, is the fight for women to get the same opportunities and salary as men in comedy, theatre and the world. But, she said it’s getting better, particularly with the recent pay gap enquiries and women actors, directors and producers in British theatre.
“There’s a real shift in how we perceive the spectrum of gender, though. Theatre and filmmakers are responding to this and there have been some incredible shows that are beautiful and ground-breaking. My favourites would be Milk’s Bullish and Joan, both currently touring Australia.”
Culture also plays a huge role. To Reddin-Clancy, “comedy is journalism with jokes”.
GRACE follows a highly successful tour of Kate Middleton Show Queen in 2013 – where she started to touch on these subjects. Kate grew into a character that she had deep respect for and in fact, taught her a lot, as well as her audiences.
GRACE is on from March 4 – 14 at Broadcast Bar.
Published 31 January, 2018