Geraldine Quinn: The Passion of Saint Nicholas {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Passion of Saint Nicholas is a rock cabaret that is beautifully personal and breathtakingly hilarious. Every emotion you feel, Geraldine Quinn holds your hand the whole way.

The Saint Nicholas mentioned is Geraldine’s brother, Nicholas, “the golden child” of the Quinn family. Their relationship was close with music being the spark in what drew them together and influenced Geraldine, in part, to become the incredible performer that she is today.

Nick’s passing is part of Saint Nicholas but this isn’t a show all about death, so you won’t be leaving with tears streaming down your face.

Joking about a death in the family is something I’ve been doing for years, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a laugh from it, not even a snicker. So, am I just bad at making these jokes, or is Geraldine Quinn just really funny?

The answer is Quinn is really funny, and I’ve just been making people dreadfully uncomfortable for all these years. While Quinn can open her show, talk about day drinking and the awful call from her brother telling her about his terminal brain cancer diagnosis, yet still have the audience in stitches is an indication of her comedic mastery.

Some of the funniest moments in Saint Nicholas come from Quinn telling stories about her family, particularly bringing out sandwich boards with family photos, a ranking of her siblings and a hilarious portrait of Nick to demonstrate how a bowl cut exaggerated his already big head. The Quinn family moving from Wagga Wagga to Melbourne is where Geraldine and Nick’s relationship was bolstered. Much of this coming from their mutual love of music, with Quinn telling jokes about life in high school that aren’t the same old ones you’ve heard before.

Hearing Quinn’s anecdotes about high school life through her cabaret music style, is why she’s my Queen of Cabaret. I think it would be impossible to not fall in love with Quinn at this point. She’s been so honest about her family, letting the audience laugh at her more embarrassing moments, and sending them into fits of laughter with every joke and song. What stood out to me was how cognisant Quinn is. She knows how talented she is, but she also knows the importance of Nick presence physically and spiritually.

This is so important for the emotional height of the show. If Quinn had neglected to highlight the impact Nick had on her, the show simply wouldn’t have had the same effect and you can feel just how much Nick supported her when she sings about him. I was amazed by how the show wasn’t sad until Quinn permitted us to be sad. She offered her hand out to cry with her and we all willingly did. The beautiful control Quinn had amazed me. To tell these stories and remember this person she loved so much, to open up to a room of strangers, it is more than most people could bare.

When the audience needed it the most, Quinn showcased her wonderful comedy skills again in a song with the lyrics “Why couldn’t he died of something funnier?”. This wasn’t an emotional whiplash but a sweet little anecdote for anyone who might’ve felt the same that’s been in this kind of situation.

I invited friends to buy a ticket and come with me to see Geraldine without giving any information about her, never doubting that they’d have a wonderful time but hoping they’d enjoy her just as much as I did. The fact that it’s been a couple of days now and we’ve still been bringing up her show in conversation brings me so much joy because I’ve shown more people a performer I know that deserves to be an Australian icon.

The Passion of Saint Nicholas is a heartfelt and hilarious tribute to a beloved person lost too early, and how we try and deal with the loss. I’ve mentioned before that I wanted Quinn to be my Fairy Godmother and this new show just makes me want that even more. Her ability to make the audience laugh with her about such a painful subject is a rare feat but to make some cry-laugh is a momentous one. The Passion of Saint Nicholas won’t heal the wounds of losing a loved one, but it might help you to learn to look back on their life, in a way that hurts a little bit less.

Geraldine Quinn’s The Passion of Saint Nicholas is currently playing at Malthouse Theatre’s The Tower as part of the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 7th.

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