Friday 14 April 2017

Cull review - Melbourne International Comedy Festival

There's no denying society is ruled by social media, a place where people can share their every thought through video, photos or in 140 characters. From the mundane to the downright ridiculous, everyone is getting in on it, hell, even the Leader of the Free World is using twitter to troll the FBI. Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva are sick and tired of social media and in Cull, they decide to purge their Facebook friends one by one.

The two methodically work through a long list of annoying social media users in weird and wacky sketches. At the same time however, these sketches manage to humanise the people they are portraying and show the anxieties and longing they have to be connected with other people. This includes the Instagrammer who shares millions of photos of her cat on a daily basis, the Facebook couple posting love-affirming statuses and the zany You Tubers creating videos that are purely attention seeking but who are like, totally doing it for their adoring fans you guys. No one is safe in this cut-throat exploration into the black hole that is social media and its cult members.

There are a number of dance routines during the show, including a brilliant one to Gloria Estefan’s “Conga”, in which they both display some impressive moves. Silva further shines in scenes that are reliant on vocal skill. His turn at talking gibberish is utterly captivating and he appears to be at much ease speaking nonsense with great fluency and truthfulness in what he is saying. The scene in which he and Wolff seemingly improvise their simultaneous speech is not only funny but shows the dedication and focus the two have put into the show.

Wolff and Silva share an incredible chemistry, and the show could not have worked as well as it did if it were not for that. It is evident that they are concentrating on supporting what their partner is doing rather than trying to make themselves look good, which results in both of them being in top form.

There is a mood of vulnerability and desperation being expressed throughout the show, and this is also exemplified through the effective lighting and sound design by Tom Backhaus. The red strobe lights at one specific moment create a strong emotional reaction for the audience with Wolff in particular putting on the most psychotically cordial smile I have ever seen.

Cull is dark, twisted and macabre but it’s done in a ridiculously fun way. However, once you've finally stopped laughing, you begin to think about what the purpose of Cull is, and that's when fact becomes far more frightening than fiction. It is a must-see at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Click here to read my interview with Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva

Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank.
Season: until 23 April | Tues - Sat 9.15pm, Sun 8.15pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc
| $20 Tightarse Tuesday
Bookings: MICF website 

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