Review: Queer & Present Danger

Anna Piper Scott presents an empowering hour of laughs that are wonderfully unapologetic. (Image Source: Anna Piper Scott via Adelaide Fringe)

By Helen Karakulak | @helen_karakulak

Queer & Present Danger is an insightful and authentic performance of stand-up comedy that balances humour with deeper messages surrounding transitioning and the safety of queer people.

Anna Piper Scott is brilliantly bold and blunt, sharing real-life experiences throughout her set and providing representation for stories of trans people that often go unheard. She touches on the dominant narrative often told of violence, heartbreak and ridicule. While she recognises the importance of these stories, she crucially reminds us this is not all there is.

Piper Scott discusses coming out, closet construction and undergoing a second puberty in a way that embraces trans and gender diverse people. This informs audience members who are cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

Her delivery is warm and welcoming, allowing viewers to empathise with ease and hang on her every word. Since the audience was predominantly cisgender on the night of review, there were moments of stunned silence and hesitation. Piper Scott reassures us it’s okay to laugh, guiding us through her performance with grace, wit and understanding.

It’s important to note the content warnings associated with this show include mental health, self-harm and suicide. Although the Adelaide Fringe do well to list these content warnings on their website, Piper Scott shares her own values of inclusivity and delivers a trigger warning of her own mid-performance.

She recognises it’s difficult to make such a statement funny, non-confrontational or laced with shame and yet she nails it. In a comedy landscape that so often takes easy shots at the changing attitudes separating generations, reducing millennials to ‘snowflakes’ and so on, Piper Scott delivers a brief and effective trigger warning that’s funny and reassuring. She additionally offers to be contacted directly in person after the show or online to support anyone struggling with the issues she raises. Not only does this reflect her sense of community and connection with her subject matter, it is a commendable offer that goes above and beyond.

Walking away from Queer and Present Danger, you’ll absorb and learn more than just how hilarious queer people are. The emotional labour of trans people is an underlying theme tethering each story Piper Scott openly shares with us. As a result, her commendable content breaks ground in the genre of heartfelt comedy, establishing herself as an emerging artist to watch.

Piper Scott strikes the perfect balance in her myth busting. She uses humour to ease you into discussions of harassment without being dismissive of the weight her content carries. Her callbacks are sparing but well-utilised and her longer anecdotes are insightful and delightful.

Queer & Present Danger will leave you in stitches and endless appreciation for this powerful comedian. Piper Scott is unlike anyone else you’ll see this Fringe season.

Queer & Present Danger is running at the Lark at Gluttony until Sunday, March 21 2021.

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