BEAST — Review

by Sumarlinah Raden Winoto

Beast by Krishna Istha
Presented by Arts House & Midsumma Festival
31 January—2 February 2019

The first thing I said after watching Krishna Istha’s world premiere stand-up comedy show was I didn’t realise how much I needed this. It might not mean much coming from a crowd of queers and PoC, but I honestly have never heard such an hour of intensive collective cackling as last night at the Arts House.

As Krishna asserts, laughter is cathartic, and no one needs it more right now than the QTIPOC (Queer/Trans/Intersex People of Colour) of the world, and my, did they deliver. From niche jokes about hormone replacement therapy, due credit given to our open obsession of trans-truck companies, organic produce cameos and not-so subtle references to the struggles of being conventionally contradictory…. they crafted a show that so acutely captured the QTIPOC experience in all its hilarity, joy and pain.

Usually found in the performance art scenes of New York, London and Birrarung (Melbourne), Krishna decided to try their hand at stand-up comedy, to see if a brown trans masc non-binary can make it in this cis white man’s world. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when someone turns the tables and becomes their own best joke, instead of someone else’s bottom—I mean butt—I mean… punchline?

Krishna created a wonderful set that resonated with me as a QTIPOC (and by the howls around me I gather many others as well), and honestly was probably the best therapy I’ve gotten in years. I know we harp on about this all the time, but representation really does make such a huge difference, as does seeing people who you can relate and look up to succeed.

Krishna’s show is completely sold out for the next few nights, and rightly so. If you are not following them then you better get on it now; they were named “One to Watch” for good reason.

Image by Cherry Auhoni

Image by Cherry Auhoni

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