Review by Talia Carlisle

Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s Samantha Hannah leading a super all-female all-funny line-up of comedians that share a striking resemblance… but definitely aren’t all the same person… *wink!*

Having been nominated for both Best Comedian, and Best MC at last year’s Wellington Comedy Awards, it makes sense that Samantha’s next impressive feat combines both skills, plus brings to life some loveable and memorable comedic characters trying their luck at stand-up – and with Samantha’s guidance hit it out of the park.

Our beloved MC “Sammy” struts in like a celebrity because she is, and introduces her first alterego to this bustling Tuesday night crowd as Emily Dixon-Smith, a squeaky and anxious funny creature who reminds me of my favourite movie star – Marcel the Shell with Shoes on.

That’s right, this red-carpet bound movie star Marcel is known for their hopeful take on even the darkest of situations and movie star-to-be Emily’s wide brimmed glasses are a definite step out of her shell without compromising on Christmas cracker turned dark jokes that crack the audience up in no time.

Small and shaky Emily’s catchphrase is whispered through wobbly high pitched panic – “We’re having fun”… and gets higher and more panicked as the set goes on. “I think we should all be anxious,” Emily professes earnestly. “There’s a lot to worry about”. You’ll have to watch the show to find out what exactly, yet the audience’s worries are left outside the Cavern Club door while raucous laughter spreads through the bar instead.

MC Sammy encourages the crowd to support shy Emily, and all the wonderful female acts with applause, before introducing our next powerhouse comic, and a wannabe… banana… called Sweaty Patches. Who did you expect to see?

Actually these fun characters – including the last two whoppers Maryanne McLeod and Abigail Hardnut, who pull all the punches and catch all the jokes – feign in comparison to our MC Sammy’s exciting stories about dungeons and prison analogies, in between championing inclusive audiences and all the fine women in the crowd.

Despite a suspicious tinge of Scottish accent in all of MC Sammy’s comedians, there is a wonderful worldly message about supporting newcomers, and particularly women and minorities, and lifting the rose tinted glasses that comedy is as easy as changing your silver coat or banana hat.

It’s a tough road, and thankfully we don’t have to do it. We can benefit from Samantha and all the wonderful comedians pouring their hearts into comedy all-year-around – not just during the International Comedy Festival.

Lucky for Wellington, there is a lot to offer.

I heard Marcel, I mean Emily, squeak a whisper that a tour might be on the cards in future. And these award-worthy lady women comedians are not to be missed. I’m not joking around!