Joanna Weinberg is the kind of person you could jealously dislike from a distance. All long legs and posh accent, she could potentially make other women feel a bit pigeon-y in the shadow of her parrot-like glory.
That is, until she starts singing. Her show, Pandora’s Bag, is essentially a feminist love song. It doesn’t take long to realise that Weinberg not only cares about other women, she actively thinks about and campaigns for their rights.
Whilst circling around the frivolous concept of handbags – vagina (!), designer, vegan and leather - Weinberg manages to mine some serious social messages from what is a confection of funny ditties, one-liners and visual gags. She discusses sweat shops and the ethics of crocodile farming for the purpose of making Kelly and Birkin bags, and talks about the abolition of the tampon tax in Canada.
With an all-girl band of a cellist, drummer and trumpeter (complete with bag-themed fascinators), the show features songs such as 'Old Bag', 'Bag Porn', and 'Laundry Bag'. There is also an actress who models bags in a hammy way, adding to the visual comedy.
The stories Weinberg shares are one of the show’s great highlights. She shares the tale of Vita, a 95 year old singer who Weinberg used to visit in aged care. Vita, who famously beat Dame Joan Sutherland in a singing competition, has reached the point where she just wants to die. Cue: ‘I Want to Die’, a surprisingly hilarious song that Weinberg wrote for Vita to cheer her from her euthanasia-centric musings.
Amongst all of this, she shares factoids about the value of the designer bag industry (billions of dollars), amusing anecdotes about the way different bag designs were conceived, and gives the audience insight into what’s cool in bags right now.
You don’t need to like bags to find this show entertaining but a certain affection for fashion will enhance the guffaw-factor of the jokes.
Keep an eye out for Pandora's Bag returning to the stage after what has proven to be an enormously popular run.
|19 Marrickville Road|
|+61 2 9550 3777|
Mon – Thu 7pm – late
Fri – Sat 7.30pm – late
Sun 6.30pm – late