22 Nov Everyone Leaves The Theatre With A Smile

Arts Festival of Dunedin 2016
MICHELE A’COURT in STUFF I FORGOT TO TELL MY DAUGHTER
presented by NOTORIOUS*at Playhouse Theatre, Dunedin
From 5 Oct 2016 to 8 Oct 2016
[1 hr]Reviewed by Kimberley Buchan, 5 Oct 2016

 

Michele A’Court went into a bit of a panic when her daughter left home to start her own life on her own terms. All of the things that she meant to tell her daughter but had forgotten to mention in between “eat your broccoli” and “do your homework” went pouring through her head. A’Court has decided to rectify this situation by making sure that she fills in the blanks for her daughter and for the rest of the country as well. The result of this motherly stress out is a two hour comedy show entitled Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter. So I’ve decided to take my mum.

A’Court gives advice, both practical and philosophical. If you would like to know how to store ginger or stop your tights from snagging, you will leave the theatre satisfied that you have made your life more economically effective. If you would like to consider human equality and how incredibly far we have come in a really short time you will leave the theatre satisfied that you are alive in New Zealand in 2016.

That might sound a bit dry for a comedy show. I assure you it isn’t. True, there are moments where the audience get quiet and thoughtful and there is the elated “oooooooo” when everyone realises how much money they are going to save on tights now, but for the rest of the time they are rollicking with laughter. If you aren’t instantly hooked by the tights angle, then it is worth going to just for the glimpse of an early nineties sex education video.

A’Court knows how to captivate an audience and exactly how to time her anecdotes for maximum hilarity. She makes an instant connection with her audience from the first moment of her show, which is a slideshow of photos of her daughter. Every single person in the audience relates to these iconic Kiwi coming of age moments. She is a warm and inviting storyteller.

My mother says that it felt like we should have been on a couch in her living room sharing stories. It does inspire some deep and interesting conversation between us. Everyone leaves the theatre with a smile. It is the kind of show that afterwards you immediately message your friends saying “you have got to see this!”

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22 Nov Hilarious, Informative, Eye-Opening

Southland Festival of the Arts 2016
MICHELE A’COURT in STUFF I FORGOT TO TELL MY DAUGHTER
presented by NOTORIOUS*at Repertory House, 167 Esk Street, Invercargill
29 Apr 2016
[1 hr]Reviewed by Sarah McCarthy, 30 Apr 2016

 

A packed house greets Michele A’Court at Invercargill’s Repertory Theatre for Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter. A one-woman stand-up show, it does the seemingly impossible, melding sweet memories, bawdy laughs and basic feminist theory.

A’Court has the audience in the palm of her hand from the get-go, which allows her to weave her way through the nearly jarring tonal shifts throughout her set without once losing traction.

It’s a performance that reminds us of the importance of stage presence and confidence; lessons that can only be learned though years of performance. A’Court’s persona is such that even when a punch line can be sensed miles away, the audience is on the journey with her nonetheless.

The woman is hilarious. It’s such a pleasure to be in an audience where people are actually howling with laughter – and so eager for the second act to begin that they stay, for the most part, in their seats during interval.

Now on the last leg of her Arts on Tour NZ season, there is a beautiful rhythm to her performance that keeps the connection with the audience alive, especially during a tough second act where the laughs aren’t as plentiful. A’Court plunges into the ‘herstory’ of the Feminist movement and manages to throw some serious shade at the patriarchy while remaining amusing. An informative and eye-opening reflection on women’s rights is an unexpected detour, yet one that shores up the way she talks about her daughter and her own experiences in other parts of her performance.

And it’s in that confidence again that her genius lies. She isn’t afraid to slow down her show and tonally change direction, because, as only a seasoned performer knows, her audience is with her all the way.

A genuinely wonderful night out with one of New Zealand’s best.

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22 Nov Stuff To Tell Our Sons As Well?

MICHELE A’COURT in STUFF I FORGOT TO TELL MY DAUGHTER
presented by NOTORIOUS*at The Famous Spiegeltent, Havelock North Domain, Havelock North
4 Oct 2015
[1 hr]

Reviewed by Karen Beaumont, 5 Nov 2015

 

Comedian, author and social commentator, Michele A’Court’s solo show, Stuff I forgot to tell my Daughter, is a laugh out loud, wipe away the tears look at mother and daughter relationships, feminism and life.

A’Court manages to balance that fine line between comic and serious, encouraging the men to laugh at themselves and leaving mothers with further explaining to do. The audience is responsive, calling out replies, applauding in agreement; they are comfortable in their vocalness.

The factual recount about the beginning of feminism provides short sharp reminders of what women have had to contend with, and an eye-opening take on the state of some countries in the world today. As a serious break from the comical banter this section has the potential to run dry but A’Court manages to read her audience well; she maintains a fast pace and her barbed stance on current politics and old breaks those tensions with wry charm.

The cyclic use of slides to mark the beginning and end of the show, from daughter to granddaughter, draws a range of comments and neatly takes us back to the start. The audience is left with the thought that it is not only what we tell our daughters but our sons that will make change for the feminists of the future.

As for ‘Molly’, tonight’s younger target, it may have felt a bit hard at times, and there may have been somethings she wasn’t ready to understand yet, but one day, when she has daughters of her own she may remember tonight and how to defrost bread without electricity.

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22 Nov Informative, Spirited, Lots of Laughs

Nelson Arts Festival 2015
MICHELE A’COURT in STUFF I FORGOT TO TELL MY DAUGHTER
presented by NOTORIOUS*at Nelson Musical Theatre, 95 Atawhai Dr, The Wood, Nelson
23 Oct 2015
[1 hr]

Reviewed by Ro Cambridge, 24 Oct 2015

 

 Michele A’Court has a talent to amuse. This much is clear from her long career in the media and in comedy.  But who knew she also had a talent to instruct? The Nelson Arts Festival crowd who fill the quaint Nelson Musical Theatre to see her hour-long, one-woman show are happily amused and instructed in equal measure.

Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter is framed as a light-hearted look at the life-skills you should pass on to your daughter before she leaves home. You learn for example what stops your tights snagging and what not to do if you’ve been chopping chillies.

However, the show actually turns out to be a lecture on feminism sandwiched between two slices of stand-up comedy. This makes the whole thing sound more seriously polemical than hilarious and it’s a risky gambit: feminists have a reputation for humourlessness. However A’Court leavens what could have been a leaden loaf by spicing it with a sharp wit and a shrewd though compassionate eye for human foibles.

A’Court turns the stereotype on its tired head to lead a responsive audience on a merry dance with acerbic asides about the Act Party and Paul Henry, wise cracks, ‘dick jokes'; through the first, second and third waves of feminism; into a spirited attack on the inequalities which women still face.

Before A’Court appears on stage – glossy-haired in black tights, embroidered cardigan and a sparkly green skirt – we watch a slide-show of her daughter Molly’s life from chubby-faced baby to teenager trying out the props and costumes of womanhood, and the birth of her own daughter. The effect could have been cloying but it isn’t. The images are personal and yet Molly is also EveryDaughter and Michele is EveryMum.

The slide show continues as a prop throughout the show. Wielding the remote control like the entertaining high school teacher you never had, A’Court flicks through slides which highlight her topics – Sex, Body Image, Youth, Drugs and Alcohol – or illustrates her romp through feminism beginning with the bluestockings of the 18th century.

Along the way we get to watch a film clip of a much younger, bob-haired A’Court in a teen sex education video, rolling a condom onto a very large wooden phallus with nary a flicker of post-modern irony.

A’Court than drags us laughing – via Emily Pankhurst, Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem – into the 21st century by pointing out how even now, women are paid 12% less than men in equivalent work. She’s also got some novel suggestions for righting this wrong very quickly. If you’re a woman and you work a 40 hour week she suggests that all you need to do is … [spoiler averted].

I only wish I’d seen the show before my daughter left home.  Then I would have had a convincing argument for the validity of my maternal advice and admonishment.  A’Court explains it this way: “I have been you, but you haven’t been me. Yet. Therefore, I know things you don’t know. This means you should listen to me.”

Try this reasoning on your wilfully deaf teenage daughter. If it doesn’t work, take her along to Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter instead. Michele A’Court will convince her, and give you both a lot of laughs on the way.

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31 Jan Charlie Gates – The Press

Stuff I Forgot to Tell my Daughter – Michele A’Court

World Buskers Festival, Christchurch

 

“A’Court’s Show Tickles the Funny Bone”

 
Michele A’Court’s new one-woman show is smart, inspiring and, most importantly, very funny.
When her daughter turned 20, got a job and left home; A’Court was left to ponder if she had equipped her daughter with enough knowledge and wisdom to take on the world.
 
Had she taught her how to defrost frozen bread during a power cut? Did she know a good tip to avoid laddered tights? What about sex?
 
This simple hook is used as a starting point to satirise recent events and talk about life in middle age. But the heart of the show is nothing less than a brief history of feminism, outlining its continued relevance and power.
 
OK, I just made this show sound a bit boring. But it’s just righteous enough to be inspiring, rather than offputting, and just funny enough to remain engaging. A’Court has a great knack of getting to the heart of the matter and then piercing it with a sharply-worded gag.
 
Want an example? Well it gets no sharper than this: “People often ask: ‘Now we’ve won, do we still need feminism?’ You may as well ask: “Now there is no slavery, do we still need black people?”
 
There is no doubt that A’Court had her audience rapt. There were a lot of middle-aged women and their daughters righteously nodding and then laughing in recognition. And, obviously, it’s not just for women. I’m a 37-year-old man and I loved it. It was fascinating, informative and funny.
 

— Charlie Gates, The Press, January 2014

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