Estranged for five years, Louise Joy McCrae and Nicolette Minster were university classmates and housemates, united by the hovering presence of their respective virginities. Fast forward to MICF 2012 and the girls have fused together their immense talent into an hour-long performance that dips one toe into a pool of silliness, another into a pool of satire, and starts splashing.
The work switches between three modes: stand-up, live sketch and filmed sketch. Action is fast-paced and the girls get through some seriously funny stuff in this show, on throughout the MICF in the Ladies’ Lounge at the Forum, or, in Nic’s words, "the room next to the toilet" (it’s quite intimate).
Opening with a fantastic parody of Australian reality TV, Nic and Lou are on a mission to rekindle their friendship and are making up for lost time by competing in an epic reality show that takes in the elements of all our favourites (the cooking one, that race around the world, one of the dancing ones… etc). With each ‘task’, Lou and Nic totally nail the "idiots on parade" vibe of TV reality shows, and they make it look easy.
Between sketches, Nic and Lou each try their hands at stand-up. Nic’s brand of stand-up is dark and very personal – almost uncomfortably so. Each story balances on the tightrope between tragedy and comedy, and although she does reach some really funny punchlines, there seems to be some trauma in actually getting the stories out. This could of course be nerves, but it does ultimately impact on the effect of the joke.
Lou’s stand-up is more character based, with stories about the members of her off-the-wall family.
The sketches, on the whole, are clever, well written, and at times quite poignant. As with the stand-up sections, some tightening up is in order, as sometimes jokes can get lost in the detail. But a tendency to ramble is hardly a deal-breaker, as luckily these girls have really funny material to back them up.
One hilarious vignette had Lou’s Beat poet riffing on the theme "Family Is…", with the resulting thoughts as diverse as a five-piece boy-band and a bowl of nuts. Another slashes great holes in the revolting toddler-beauty-pageant machine, especially the selfishness of mid-West American peroxide/fake-tanned/fake-breasted mothers who subject their children to this strange torture. Killing two birds with one stone, the girls also use this sketch to highlight the racism inherent in our attitudes to boat people. Sounds odd, but it works.
A borderline molestation (between the girls – no audience participation here thanks folks) and a horrific attempt at a sexy sax solo end this hour of really fun comedy. Get in now so for years to come you can smugly tell your friends that you saw them in their first ever show together.
Rating: 3 stars
Louise Joy McCrae and Nicolette Minster in Girls, Uninterrupted
Forum Theatre – Ladies’ Lounge
March 29 – April 22
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
March 28 – April 22