Wednesday 10 April 2024

Motion Sickness review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Goodness. Where to begin with Rachel Tunaley's Motion Sickness? From the moment she appears from behind the curtain, Tunaley's energy levels are at 100 and she is fully committed in this terrific cabaret about a life-changing car accident and a subsequent two-month solo trip to Europe.

Her original songs are marvellous and cover a range of genres including impressive raps and powerful ballads. I never thought I could be so captivated watching someone sing the stations of a train line, but Tunaley does it in an extremely fun way, where even a return to the song later in the show is still as fascinating as the first time. The opening "I Wish" song is quite literally about wishing to get the fuck out of Wattle Glen, and anyone who has grown up in similar areas (myself included) will recognise all the references and in-jokes and empathise with Tunaley's predicament.

Tunaley takes us across the world to various countries where she shares her experiences through rapid storytelling and music. We head to England, Monaco, Spain and New York to name a few, and learn of the mishaps and the misadventures she goes through. Just like all good things, the holiday must come to an end and Tunaley realises that she is happy to go home. It would be great if future productions of Motion Sickness addressed why she felt that way as in its current iteration we are not given enough information to understand the why.

Her use of images projected on a TV screen to convey location, emotion or add visual cues to what she is saying is well utilised, particularly the photos of herself in various states, including one while she is participating in a sleep apnoea study. Yes, between car accidents and European holidays, she is also getting tested for sleep apnoea.

Tunaley dazzles with her musical and comedy skills – right up to the very last second of the show. She throws herself into the production and has clearly put plenty of thought into bringing such an unpredictable period of her life into a sophisticated yet absurd performance.


Venue: Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
 until 14 April | 5:30pm
 55 minutes
 $39 Full | $35 Conc
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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