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Adelaide Fringe 2015

Geraldine Quinn – MDMA: Modern Day Maiden Aunt

Geraldine Quinn

Genre: Cabaret

Venue: Producers Warehouse


Low Down

Quinn regaled us with tales of success and failure, of family dysfunction, social expectations, and of the freedom to do what she wants when she wants without bowing to ridiculous, antiquated social pressures. Each tale was accompanied by a self-penned cautionary song inspired by moments and people in our heroine’s life. Hold on tight!


Quinn staggered out on stage grasping a half-empty bottle of wine, looking every-inch the decorated performer that she is. She was both visually stunning and vocally stunning. Throughout the show, Quinn’s voice switched effortlessly from cool jazz, to hard-edged growling rocker, then to Broadway pizazz.

It’s not just her singing voice which can switch moods, but her on-stage character can go from self-confident goddess to shrunken and distraught recluse almost instantly. And you feel every change. This is an actor who takes you along for the ride with them, you don’t have a choice — not that I would choose any different.

We were told stories about her 19 nieces and nephews, whom she clearly adores, despite her constant outrage aimed at the parents’ over-sharing of pointless posts about their children. There was a touch of hypocrisy present there, but we’ll let that slide because Quinn is just so damn good.

Topics which make her agitated range from what to talk about at parties where everyone has kids, and the trials and tribulations of a 39 year-old woman dating (much) younger men. I won’t tell you the ingredients of Quinn’s “despair cocktail” are, that would spoil the saddening surprise.

Our heroine has had to deal with a lot of grief in her time — from parents wanting her to get a real job, to the constant attention (both negative and positive) she received just because of the colour of her red hair. Not one to back down from a fight, she shaved her head to escape the attention, only to find herself being chastised for doing so. Sometimes you just can’t win.  

Modern Day Maiden Aunt is delivered with the smooth skills of a professional. The warm charactered Quinn isn’t afraid of admitting she is flawed, and sometimes feels broken, but she has the inner strength and talent to soldier on. Wonderfully directed by Justin Hamilton, this is a heart-achingly funny show, worth seeing just to hear that incredible voice burst into song.



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