Friday 6 October 2023

Hot Fat Crazy review (Melbourne Fringe Festival)

If being mentally unwell was as much fun as Hot Fat Crazy, I would have signed up years ago! Created and performed by Eadie Testro-Girasole and Thomas Bradford, this musical theatre comedy follows Eadie as she admits herself into a psych ward and begins to work through her anxiety and depression. But oh how we all laughed. A lot.

Testro-Girasole is absolutely charming and wins the audience over from the opening number, “Welcome to the Psych Ward”. She displays a vulnerable confidence that ground the character despite the wackiness and absurdity that takes place in this world, which makes sense given that this is based on her own psych ward admissions. Bradford is the perfect pairing to Testro-Girasole, brilliant in all of his over-the-top characters, particularly when he is Eadie's diary and as a homophobic cat. Yes, a homophobic cat.

The two are in total control of the show and intimately know their characters' personalities and temperaments and how to elicit the jokes and humour from them. There are a few instances where a prop fails to do what it should or one of them fumbles over their lines, but they roll with it so well and those moments end up being some of the more memorable of the night. They clearly love being on stage and in turn, so do we. Also a shout out to Georgia Gurr and Cat Woodfield for their outstanding hands-on assistance and incredible work in their supporting roles as fellow patients, musicians and the general chorus of the show.

The original songs are all bangers that cover a variety of genres, including rock n' roll, country and bad Australian hip hop, with the meaning and purpose behind each song accurately encapsulated through its genre. "Welcome to the Psych Ward" is the top pick, with catchy lyrics and music while dealing with something quite serious. This could easily have been pulled from an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is testament to the writing prowess these two possess.

The sketches are far-fetched yet believable, I mean, who hasn't fucked someone in a psych ward? Trish and Trish, two nurses who themselves exhibit signs of instability, are a joy to watch and hear of the dark, twisted things they do when no one is around. Even with a small stage, the performance never feels confined or constricted thanks to the direction of Aubrey Flood. The choreography is lively and animated and uses the space appropriately and effectively.

Hot Fat Crazy is a commentary of mental health and its treatment in Australia but Testro-Girasole and Bradford ensure there is a huge dose of laughter and enjoyment. Comedy value can be found in just about anything and the way this duo has found it for this show is highly commendable and possibly one of the more exciting things to come out of the Melbourne Fringe Festival this year.

Show Details

Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Season: until 8 October | 8:30pm, Sun 7:30pm
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $27 Concession
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image credit: Rory Lou

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