By Colin Flaherty
Since setting out as a solo performer several years ago after doing time in the trenches of sketch, Tegan Higginbotham has progressed in leaps and bounds. Her latest show, Touched By Fev, sees her at the top of her game; commanding the stage with absolute confidence and hitting every comedic beat.
Although Tegan sets out her adoration of Brendan Fevola at the beginning, those people who bought tickets primarily to hear about Fev have to sit through many personal anecdotes and various asides before she gets to the crux of the performance towards the end of the hour. This is certainly far from a chore as these are delightful tales and jokes delivered by a personable and adept performer.
She apologises for the show’s unfortunate title at the outset (it sounds more like a victims support group) and begins by covering her other youthful obsessions. I had seen her trialling this material in various rooms recently and it had given me the impression that this was going to primarily be about Idol worship. However through many detours, she presents something that covers so much more ground. Apparently random but humorous asides are tied into the main thread; perhaps not always perfectly but she pulls it off with such charm that you follow her regardless. Repeat customers from Million Dollar Tegan are even treated to material that expands upon themes covered previously which are carefully constructed not to exclude newcomers.
The show has a pleasing rhythm to it with her punchlines spaced at comfortable intervals that keeps the laughs rolling along. This however changes when she hits the extended tale of her interactions with Fevola and it becomes more sombre and the laughs drop off considerably. Not that this concerns the crowd as they are transfixed by her words; clearly fascinated by the story.
When referring to Fev, she does so in a compassionate way. We are allowed to have a laugh at the ridiculousness of his various indiscretions but for the most part the focus is about Tegan and her experiences. In the hands of someone else, Fev could have wound up as a comedic punching bag but not here, so those looking for dirt need look elsewhere.
Tegan has once again mined her real life experiences to construct a wonderful show with plenty of laughs while at the same time allowing for a bit of self-reflection.
Touched By Fev is on at Spleen