DEBORAH Frances White is still, technically, a Jehovah’s Witness, but a considerably better stand-up than she ever was a doorknocker. This compelling insight into a mysterious religious cult benefits from a storytelling ability that you won’t find in the Watchtower.
Deborah Frances-White: Cult Following
Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)
Star rating: * * *
With a couple of ominous anecdotes that she returns to throughout her hour – the risks of sending teenage girls to spread the word in complete strangers’ houses; her recruitment of a Cuban jazz musician – this Australian reveals a bizarrely formalised, restrictive way of life that nevertheless was attractive to her family and her as an insecure young woman.
Marvelling at the harsh treatment of those cast out for seemingly minor indiscretions, she describes how the experience has shaped her atheism and a confessional and sexualised personality.
There’s little bitterness in her account and she doesn’t strive for any pat epiphanies or momentous revelations about her upbringing. Instead she keeps the hour informative and light. This is probably a show Frances-White had to get out of her system, but it also signals a deeper, more satisfying level of inquiry in her comedy.
• Until 27 August. Today 4:15pm.