Immersive show Blood is Thicker than Hummus invites audiences into the Parker household for a relaxed dinner party. Except it’s been five months since the patriarch of the family has passed away and each member of the family is still dealing with their own grief, as well as simmering tensions between each other.
Despite being born minutes apart, Penelope and Patrick (Catherine Holder and Pearce Hessling) could not be more different, nor can their animosity be more apparent as they hurl insults and cutting remarks about their life choices to each other through the entire dinner - and in front of their guests. Melina Wylie as Pamela tries to play mediator but even she reaches breaking point with her bickering children.
The three performers have a lot of fun with the characters and it’s difficult to tell exactly how much of this is scripted and how much is improvised. However, their interactions with audiences are well executed and they handle any surprise response or action with seeming ease.
There are plenty of personal touches everywhere you look in the Parker's home that gives this show setting an authentic vibe, including Pamela’s numerous zucchini growing awards and picture frames with affirmations that Penelope and Patrick’s deceased father has placed in the living room and dining room. The costuming is a very interesting choice with this show as well. The clothing has such a strong 80s/90s aesthetic that contradicts the modern day setting but at the same time, it signifies the bond that this family have, and will always have.
While there is a great insight into the bond between a mother and her two children with interesting discussions had, there needed to be a tighter structure to the overall narrative. If we had been working towards some sort of reveal that would cause the three of them to realise how important they all are to each other, we could have been more invested in their relationships. As it stands, there is so much covered in this 60 minutes that we seem to speed past many issues making the resolution feel unexpected and forced.
Despite its shortcomings, Blood Is Thicker Than Hummus is an entertaining immersive show that is extremely relatable. You can’t help but think of your own mother when Pamela embarrasses her children by talking about her sex life or your own sibling when Penelope insults her brother's hairstyle. And that’s perhaps the point of this show; cherish your family. They’re the only one you get. That and there’s no problem that can’t be solved without a fabulous dance routine.
Venue: Siteworks, 33 Saxon St. Brunswick
Season: until 23 September | Wed - Sat 7pm and 8:30pm, Sun 6pm and 7:30pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $40 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
Image credit: Sarah Steiner