Directed by: Jess Joy Wood
BATS Theatre, 23rd May 2023
Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus
In a flash of spotlight, Johanna Cosgrove stalks onto the BATS stage in a slinky black satin dress, black veil, and thigh-high patent leather platform boots for an hour of unrelentingly bold sketch stand-up about her life and social observations.
Asking first “Have we f****d?”, this is not a show for the faint-hearted or easily offended and comes with an R16 rating. The F bombs and sexual references are plentiful in the following hour, as is the wickedly dark humour as Cosgrove takes us through a number of topics concerning her as she enters her third decade.
Starting with a bit of politics and how messed up Auckland is (did you know P has been detected in the central city air?), she moves swiftly into a hilarious send up of hens’ parties on Waiheke. Her love life and experiences of “overtherapised men” with no gumption comes next, along with unsuccessful sexting, a baby CEO, and why she wants a gay son. The false sense of oppression felt by those with white privilege and her allergies to “gluten, dairy, eggs, constructive criticism” come next.
We also hear about her experiences backpacking in the south of France, her views on cancel culture, Christians, and Gen Z, brawls with her sister, her parents’ cancer journeys, and her desire to play one of the leads in Daughters of Heaven. All of this is delivered with confidence, clarity, and a biting sense of humour that pulls no punches. That’s perhaps not to everyone’s taste and Cosgrove’s improvised reactions to the two people who left the auditorium partway through get some of the biggest laughs of the night.
Cosgrove’s three years at drama school shine through as she energetically demonstrates a hipster playing hacky sack in Cuba Street and a strip-club routine to Mumford & Sons’ Little Lion Man.
With its spicily candid wit and mesmerising solo execution, Hi, Delusion! cements Cosgrove as a comedy and performance force of nature. Strap in for the ride!