These are my last two Comedy Festival reviews for the year. The Fest ends this weekend. I’m hoping my lurgy does too.
’Til Divorce, By Tahnee Jones, La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton. Until April 24. Wed, Fri 6:30 Thurs, Sat 8:30, Sun 4:30
Tahnee Jones’ natty little comedy drama delivers the excruciations of a failing marriage in short, sharp scenes.
Childhood sweethearts Amy (Sarah Breen) and Adam (Jacob Pruden) marry young. She’s a politician, he works at Seaworld. It takes nine months for them to realise they have nothing in common.
Unassuming snippets follow the unravelling of intimacy: gripes, arguments, miscommunications, and awkward silences ripe with mutual antagonism.
Breen and Pruden have wonderful onstage chemistry. They milk nothing, and play the battle of the sexes with such a straight bat, with such slyly observed understatement, that their curdled love transforms into something comically horrendous.
Eben Rotjer as a roguish, Chaplinesque scene-change clown provides a winning counterpoint to the authentic drama.
Some of the dialogue is a bit too neat, but Jones has a real talent for dramatic writing, and her material is funnier for not straining to be. Anyone who’s ever been trapped in a disintegrating relationship will cringe.
Australia Dot Com, By Michael Griffith, La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St Carlton. Until April 24. Tue, Thurs, Sat, Sun 6:30 Wed Fri 8:30
Australia Dot Com is so infectiously stupid you feel dumber just watching it. I only wish it were funnier.
Jack (Adam Ford) runs a shonky online souvenir company. When he orders a motherload of marsupial rat toys from China, the shit hits the fan.
There’s plenty of shit to go around: his son Adrian (Thomas Shakespeare) is a dickhead poet; wife Maureen (Rohana Hayes) becomes obsessed with DIY internet porn and founds a flaky cult of the vagina. Their co-workers are no less eccentric: two meet and angrily romance online; a third is a hotbed of neurosis.
Expect whimsical situational comedy, a dash of musical parody and burlesque, and tired attempts at satire. (If I see another Second Life storyline in a play, I’ll vomit. That place has been abandoned for years.)
The cast gives it all they’ve got, and I liked Kate Mulqueen as a wrathful goth. But there’s a fine line between the so-bad-it’s-good variety of comedy and the so-bad-it’s-lame-beyond-belief kind, and this show smudges it into a facetious blur.