Sunday 22 April 2018

12A - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

There is a lot of superstition and dread around the number 13. So much so that buildings often go from level 12 to level 14 or the name of an apartment is listed as 12A, which fail to recognise that simply renaming something doesn't change what it is. Presented as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, James Hazelden's morbid 12A is a vignette of stories all taking place inside a suburban home that has the misfortune of being apartment number 12A.

The first of the three revolves around two friends (Brose Avard and Vaughn Rae) discussing the previous nights events as a woman sleeps awkwardly on a chair. Unfortunately this story creates little suspense for the audience and the long silences between them seem out of place given the context of the situation. There is no tension felt from the performances or the writing, so the pauses don't serve a purpose to the narrative. The final moments, while surprising, don't actually have anything to do with what we've been watching so there doesn't feel like there's a genuine pay off for the audience.

The second story involves a young man (Nicholas Roy) who goes to collect his lost wallet from a stranger's home (brilliantly played by Chris Tomkins). Tomkins' portrayal builds the uncertainty of what is happening and while he appears to be a peculiar person, we are kept guessing right up until the end as to how this will unfold. While the ending is also unexpected, this time Hazelden drops clues throughout and brings them nicely together for the big reveal.

Hazelden leaves his best for last with a hitwoman (
Emily Carr) on a mission to assassinate a young woman (Fleur Saxton) in her home. Both actors are highly convincing in their roles of two people trying to reach the most advantageous outcome to their dire situation. They do a great job in finding the comedy of their characters while still remaining the cold-hearted assassin or the petrified victim.

Half the fun of a show like 12A is trying to determine who is telling the truth and how everything will play out. By taking everyday situations such as an unfortunate sexual experience, a missing wallet and a relationship break up, Hazelden presents three tales that take the audience to some dark and twisted places, and what could be more entertaining than that?

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton 
Season: until 22 April | Fri 6.30pm, Sat 8:30pm, Sun 4.00pm
Length: 50 minutes
Tickets: $30.30 Full | $20.30 Conc
Bookings: MICF website 

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