For over a year I’ve been asked if I’d seen Geraldine Quinn’s Broad. Finally, I can say yes – and know why people keep telling me that I’d love it. If anyone says it’s because us old broads gotta stick together, they have no idea what it’s really about.
Every time I see a new show by Geraldine, I ask why she isn’t a superstar. She has the awards (and nominations), rave reviews and a loyal audience who adore her. Her original songs are so damn clever that they can hurt your brain and her voice should be filling huge halls and making people cry. I’m not the only one who’s been saying this for years.
I’m also not the only one who makes up songs for their pet, can breathe in enough to hope the zip doesn’t break and wonders if data entry would have been a better career choice.
Wearing the navy-blue sequin, stegosaurus-inspired dress she had made for her 2011 Golden Gibbo win, Geraldine celebrates more than making the most of a dress that cost a lot and still fits. If it zips, it fits!
Broad is about squeezing into what women are still expected to be. Maybe control undies and flesh-coloured tights over fishnets are not as comfy or classy as a 1970’s Endora-from-Bewitched-inspired caftan and attitude. At least we now understand that the reason we loved Bewitched was Endora – the mother-in-law who refused to be a joke.
Geraldine grew up in the 1970s when some women were allowed to age on tv and in movies. I don’t think we realised that until 26-year-olds started being cast as 50-something frumpy mums.
They were called “old broads”, but if you’d done your time in the industry, you could wear a caftan and be loud, angry or bored and not give a toss about the opinions of blokes in suits. It was ok to be you – in a way.
It’s frightening to think that some of our icons were being old broads in their 40s, but that meant they’d been working and performing longer than the age of the shiny starlet whose tits could pass the pencil test.
Geraldine’s embracing being a broad – and knowing that she does drag better than any queen. But the heart of Broad is that its truth is so much broader.
Being a broad is as much about being in on the joke as embracing the joke that that women are still judged if our clothes get tight or we never mention our age. Or if we’ve worked for years only to understand that the doubt and frustration never stops.
Or maybe Geraldine will get her international Netflix special and never have to do data entry again. It’s not worth taking the risk that this doesn’t happen and missing Broad.
Geraldine Quinn: Broad
Trades Hall (Common Rooms Bar), 54 Victoria Street, Carlton
Performance: Tuesday 18 April 2023 – 6.30pm
Season continues to 23 April 2023
For more information, visit: www.geraldinequinn.com for details.
Image: Geraldine Quinn (supplied)
Review: Anne-Marie Peard