Thursday 12 April 2018

Toupé - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Hailing from rural Queensland, The Travelling Sisters and their wacky humour return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Toupé. Armed with a clothes rack full of costumes and a suitcase brimming with wigs, Lucy Fox, Laura Trenerry and Ell Sachs present an hour of ridiculous characters, catchy songs and hilarious sketches.

Each sketch is well considered and provides strong backstories to the characters from the second they appear on stage. The three women at the open plan yoga studio change room all have individual identities in their mannerisms and language and the relationships between them are firmly established, and this is a constant throughout the show. The worlds The Travelling Sisters are creating might be odd and quirky, but the characters are so ably conceived, they make that world feel normal.

While most of the sketches are performed as a group, they each have a turn at some solo work which is an opportunity to show off their strengths. Trenerry's partly improvised story is a highlight, particularly in her interactions with the audience. While there is not much reliance on audience participation, The Travelling Sisters acknowledge and bring them into their sketches whenever possible but always in a very relaxed and natural way.

The three have such great presence and seem to be very comfortable on stage that they are unfazed by anything that happens and happily roll with it. In fact, they're so good at it that it’s impossible to tell if the search for Trenerry's missing trousers for a sketch is a genuine concern or just a ruse. Similarly, when she later walks out on stage with fishing wire somehow attached to her jeans, Fox and Sachs immediately use it to their advantage and incorporate it into the moment.

Toupé has been the only show that had me literally crying with laughter this festival. The Travelling Sisters have far exceeded expectations of what this trio are capable of, and I for one cannot wait to have them back. Wigs and all.

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne.
Season: until 22 April | Tues - Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $27 - 32 Full | $25 Conc | $24 Tightarse Tuesday 
Bookings: MICF website

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