I am a sucker for a cabaret show.
It’s favourite style of comedy and I always strive to see as much cabaret as I can at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. So, I must confess, I almost missed my chance to see Jordan Gray’s ‘Is It A Bird?’. Summoned and sitting up front at the Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room, the stage consisted of a keyboard and what appeared to be a red telephone booth.
For ‘Is It A Bird?’, the promotional poster displayed a mostly naked trans woman apart from a microphone and flowy red cape. Call me innocent and gullible, but I wasn’t sure what the show was about. Apart from knowing that Jordan Gray is a cabaret comedian, I had no idea what was in store for me.
Stepping onto the stage, Gray was a ball of energy from the get-go. Wearing a dark grey jumpsuit with her curly black hair held up and her ears adorned in 70s style large and circular dangly earrings, Gray used the keyboard roadie case as a seat while dishing out insanely catchy and original tunes.
Leaving no stone left unturned, Gray covers everything from how anyone including bigots can like dogs, superheroes, Batman identifying as a bat, JK. Rowling, and Hitler. With impersonations, to self-affirmations, Jordan Gray is unfiltered, fierce, and fearless. With a bold and delicious energy, Gray had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand.
Even her crowd work is phenomenal. Never appearing intimidating or intimidated, Gray is a natural when addressing patrons, from high fiving everyone in the front row (including myself), querying if a couple up the front would be open to adding a third person to the bedroom who is trans, to having someone in the audience shout out for a hero to come save them. With consistent humour and an underlying serious yet heartfelt message, Jordan Gray is a genius.
My favourite part of the show would be when Gray performed a song about how Jesus was a zombie. It seems so simple and completely plausible, but it is something that I never even thought about! Not only that, but the song is so good, I’m only sad it isn’t on streaming services since I want to hear that song again and again. It’s just that damn smart!
‘Is It A Bird?’ is such a well-written, performed, directed, and produced show, I’m ashamed that I hadn’t booked to see it much earlier and almost missed it in its 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival run. While it is infectiously funny, I also found it super inspiring and was even quietly moved to tears. Although, I had to be subtle about crying since I was still in the front row and Jordan could see me!
I am in awe at how beautiful and brilliant Jordan Gray is. Her words were like honey, her songs were contagiously catchy (they’re still playing in my head), her statements were concise, and I envied just how comfortable she was in her own skin. And I am certain throughout her personal journey, she didn’t always feel this way. As much as Gray makes fun of it, she really is very brave and absolutely better than many of us.
So, open your mind, open your heart, open your wallets, and go see Jordan Gray’s ‘Is It A Bird?’ at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. This show is mischievously and surprisingly educational, will change your perspective, save lives, and will make you laugh until your face hurts. Fearless in every sense of the word, Jordan Gray is a trailblazer, a fucking superhero, and deserves all the praise she gets. All of it!
Jordan Gray’s ‘Is It A Bird?’ is playing now as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 23rd. Their show is so popular that the one scheduled for Saturday the 22nd of April has been upgraded to a bigger venue at Max Watts! With only a week left, you should grab a ticket as soon as possible to see Jordan Gray. The hype is real, trust me.
For more information and ticketing, visit: