Gemma Caruana: Underwire {Adelaide Fringe} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Puberty can be an extremely confusing, awkward, and traumatic time of someone’s life.

Presented by Mover’s Call Theatre Company, for the writer, creator and star of Underwire, Gemma Caruana, the consequences of puberty were pretty rough on her. We learn in the show that at the age of 13, Gemma was ‘gifted’ with a pair of DD boobs! To some that sounds amazing, but as we find out through Gemma’s amazing show, it was an absolute curse and the cause of much grief through her teen years. 

At the age of 18, Gemma had had enough! Something had to be done about her ever expanding chest, and she decided to have a breast reduction. It’s from this experience that she has drawn inspiration for her debut cabaret show, Underwire.

This was my first time at the Holden Street Theatre and what a little hidden gem this place is! Located inside an old church building, the theatre is slick and modern inside, a contrast to its old and rustic, stone exterior. The stage is on the floor with elevated seating for the crowd. 

The setup is simple, a large black keyboard to the left of the stage, and on the right is a curtain, akin to a dressing room, and bras of various colours, shape,s and styles are strewn across the stage too. This is a tasteful setup which aids in the story but does not detract from the overall performance.

The show opens with an altered edition of ‘Memory‘ from the Cats musical, aptly changed to ‘Mamories’. This hilarious cover is smart, witty, and sets up the tone for the rest of the show which consists of an outstanding fusion of cabaret style covers with altered lyrics and stand-up segments. I absolutely loved this style of show and will be seeking out more like it in the future.

Gemma is joined on stage by her real-life partner, Connor Dariol, who plays the keyboard, provides backup vocals, and a few smaller roles in the show, like the PE class teacher. They gel so well on stage and it’s so awesome to see. They’re a power couple! 

After seeing Underwire, I have absolutely no doubt that Gemma is an incredibly talented storyteller and performer. While her show is incredibly funny, it is also very deep, emotional, and intensely raw. It touches on many uncomfortable topics, such as sexual harassment and self-esteem issues. Gemma is vulnerable and lays it all out to bare, which I found to be quite moving and quite powerful. She owns this terrible past and doesn’t let it hold her back!

It is easy to see that Gemma is a talented artist in so many facets of the word. Apparently, Underwire is her debut show, which is amazing. It feels very polished and professional. She has taken musical theatre, cabaret, and comedy, and has blended them together into a perfect harmony. I don’t think there was one joke that fell flat, and there was an incredibly positive vibe in the room. I loved this show and honestly can’t wait to see what Gemma comes up with in future for next year’s Fringe.

If you think this show is for women only, it really isn’t! I urge everyone to go see Underwire! It will open your eyes to the pretty messed up things that women and young girls have to endure throughout their lives. It’s not just a show, it is a learning experience, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Underwire is playing as part of Adelaide Fringe 2023 until March 19th at The Studio at Holden Street Theatres. Gemma will then head to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 29th.
For more information and ticketing, visit:

Photography by William Boyd.

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One thought on “Gemma Caruana: Underwire {Adelaide Fringe} – Comedy Review”

  1. Lisa Glanville says:

    ! saw this show in Melbourne and will be going back to see it again when it comes back here for the comedy festival. I agree with every word of your review – it’s a show that lives on in your mind long after the actual show has finished.

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