Thursday 4 April 2019

A Very Fancy Dinner Party - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Seeing Michelle Brasier in KWANDA and Laura Frew in Fringe Wives Club's Glittergrass last week was a great way to whet my appetite for their new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, A Very Fancy Dinner Party. As individuals they certainly have a strong engaging stage presence but as Double Denim, their absurdist humour becomes unstoppable and unpredictable, leaving audiences with no idea on what is going to happen next.

The very loose premise of A Very Fancy Dinner Party is that they – along with three other couples – are competing on a reality TV cooking show, Eat My Shit, hosted by Andrew G and James Mathison. Why Andrew G and James Mathison? Why not? Brasier and Frew play all the couples and the hosts, as well as a few more guest characters, including a pair of crabs which they seem to have most fun with.

Double Denim excel in their character work, particularly when it comes to depicting heightened versions of stereotypes. Their portrayals of best friends from Essex Jennifer and Charlotte and father and son Men's Rights Activists Trent and Terry have the audience howling with laughter, especially as they try to navigate the various accents and tones of each character. Their timing and managing audience expectations are well thought out as they know exactly how long to keep a character on stage and when to give the audience a break from them.

The two share amazing chemistry and even though they have been working together for several years, they are still able to find ways to surprise each other. Half the joy in watching a show like this is seeing how each one reaches their breaking point on how long they can bottle their laughter before it must be released. Their energetic antics are matched by a thumping soundtrack and some highly comical choreography, which includes one musical number dedicated to all things cheese.

While Brasier and Frew might struggle with cooking a basic meal in Eat My Shit, they shine in discovering the funny in the most ridiculous of things. For anyone who just needs to switch off from the real world for an hour, then A Very Fancy Dinner Party has all the right ingredients for a perfect escape.

Venue: Victoria Hotel, 215 Lt. Collins St., Melbourne
Season: Until 21 April | Tues - Sat 8:30pm, Sun 7:30pm
Length: 60 minutes 
Tickets: $28 - $32 Full | $25 Tightarse Tuesday
Bookings: MICF website

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