Friday 12 April 2024

Lab Meat review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Bonnie Tangey works in biotech as a scientist developing lab-grown meat, or as she prefers to call it cured meat, because it sounds more posh. Lab Meat is her comedy show on lab-grown meat. But can a research scientist successfully cross the line from researcher to comedian? Tangey can and passes the test with flying colours in this little show that could.

Tangey says she will be talking about lab-grown meat but along the way she goes off on tangents that include how much she despises her boss, why we should never eat human brains and what happens when a toddler learns a new phrase. It's a brilliant structure with great punchlines and jokes, and the few that don't quite land are still funny due to Tangey's acknowledgment and response to them and having to explain it to us. Her sarcastic and dry delivery is a perfect blend of awkwardness and superiority.

While her material is exceptional and her outfit is simple but highly effective, some additional stagecraft would help bring this show to the next level even with the limited options available in this non-traditional performance space. Using a small table so she could display the props she's using and not have them be placed on the floor, especially as they do get referred to later, and having them visible would be a great touch. Also, while the nerves could have been real, having the set list visible is always going to pull the audience out of the world being presented when the performer is taking glances to see what's next.

Tangey explains at one point she could get in trouble for discussing lab-meat particularly as she has been banned from speaking in public about it - which I am sure is a joke - but I am glad she has defied these orders because Lab Meat is an unassuming highlight of the festival.


Venue: Tasma Terrace, 4-7 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
 until 21 April | 8:05pm
 50 minutes
 $30 Full | $26 Conc | $24 Tightarse Tuesday
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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