Tuesday 10 October 2023

Stickybeak review (Melbourne Fringe Festival)

Everybody needs good neighbours right? But what happens when you don't necessarily like the people who live next door to you but have to find ways to tolerate them as they float around the periphery of your daily life. In the sketch comedy Stickybeak, Kimberley Twiner, Jessie Ngaio, Laura Trenerry and Patrick Dwyer introduce us to three families, their pets and other animals that reside in the hood, and give us a hilarious peek into a space where the demarcation of public and private life is at its most blurred.

First things first, Ngaio wins this year's Fringe award for best impersonation of an animal. Her portrayal of Psycho the bulldog (in my mind) in movement and mannerism was scarily precise. If there were a runner-up for this award it would go to Twinner and her slithering snail, but less said about that the better to not lessen the surprise and joy of watching it transpire. The ensemble have given so much thought to movement and how to use their bodies, and given their experience with clown, bouffon and previous performances this is not surprising, but they have clearly honed in on this for Stickybeak.

The humans who live in these homes are afforded just as much consideration and commitment and Trenerry steals the show as the nosy neighbour Joyce, the kind who notices when your bins are out, whose cars are in the street and probably who has not been recycling properly. Dwyer is also wonderful as the exasperated Hayden, the blokey bloke husband with two terrors for children and a dog.

Even with all the comedy and randomness, the ensemble touches on more serious issues, such as domestic violence and the difficulties of raising a family and keeping your own sanity. We don't dwell on these but their presence is felt throughout the show and given the prevalence of domestic violence and the increasing rate of mental health cases, it's not surprising that these would be occurring on this street, on any street. The cast absolutely nail the ending finding absurd humour in something that is very tragic.

This is the first time Twinner, Ngaio, Trennery and Dwyer have collaborated together and what a winning combination this is. They are fully supportive of each other and able to not only make each other look good but make each other look fucking amazing. The only disappointing thing about the show is if you haven't purchased tickets already, then you're going to miss out as the rest of the season has sold out. But if Neighbours can be revived then I am sure Stickybeak will be able to come back for a second run.

Click here
to read our interview with Patrick Dwyer.

Show Details

Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Season: until 15 October | Wed - Sat 8:00pm, Sun 7:00pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Concession
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image credit: NickMickPics

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