Full disclosure. I’ve seen and reviewed a Shirley Gnome show before, but she was just so damn good that the moment I saw she would be back at Montreal Fringe I knew that it was going on my “to see list.” Shirley Gnome is the unique result when you mix country rock with extremely adult-oriented comedy where nothing is off limits. Seriously don’t bring your kids unless you want to have the most awkward minivan ride of your life after the show. For example, Shirley spends some time singing about having sex with unicorns, having sex with old people, having sex with herself, having sex with her friends, having sex in her dreams… ok… she sings a lot about having sex, yet while it’s extremely dirty and crass it comes off with an undeniably cute and innocent charm.
One of the hardest things a comic, musical or stand-up, can do is take a simple sex joke and make it clever and relevant. Sometimes it’s easy to write dirty for a cheap laugh. Despite the level of dirtiness that Shirley sings about she is extremely smart and clever providing the audience with amazing twists and turns that carry a profound sense of hilarity.
Some of her best songs are absolutely absurd and you wonder what the hell happened to make her come up with such a brilliantly twisted idea, yet others delve into things we’ve all probably thought of before but just never had the balls to say ourselves. The songs she sings must be taken as seriously as they are taken comically because there is transcendence to her music, yes, there is a level of transcendence that comes from a song that talks about old people having STD’s.
The only thing the Shirley Gnome: Real Mature show was missing was an audience sing-along. Everyone in the audience was having a riot and a standing ovation was just not enough. An hour with Shirley Gnome is way too short of a time to spend with her. I have seen Shirley Gnome perform twice now and would easily see her 100 times more without ever getting bored. You must see this show.
Simon’s 2 Cents: Sassy as can be but fun as f*cking hell. Saddle up!