Monday 1 April 2024

Pass the Parcel! review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

It's the biggest party of the year and only those who celebrate a birthday are invited. Meg and Elliot have gone all out with decorations, outfits and most importantly, party games. However, there's only one party game to be played in this show, and that's pass the parcel. Presented by Meg Taranto and Elliot Wood, Pass the Parcel! is an interactive examination of power, rules and disappointment through the perspective of a children's party game.

Taranto and Wood are a perfect pairing who have a strong focus on making each other look good. Their energies and personalities are contrasting and complementary and there is not a single misstep in their portrayals. Taranto is absolutely captivating as the hyper excited and super eager keen bean that not only wants to win all the prizes but be involved in the entirety of the game. Wood on the other hand is the slightly more pragmatic one with a touch of spitefulness and nasty. A nasty boy. To be clear though, there are plenty of times when they both need to be put into the naughty corner.

The show is literally one long game of pass the parcel, but with each layer that is unwrapped, Taranto and Wood go off on brilliantly comedic tangents about participation, rules, winning and dealing with the heart crushing moment of not winning. This includes Elliot performing a stand-up routine in preparation for their 2025 Comedy Festival show and Meg running an imaginary ice-cream shop that comes with intense directives.

So while we all (voluntarily) play a game of pass the parcel, the pair bring in various ideas around power, control and rules. Is Meg allowed to be devastated when she opens a parcel to reveal that it has no prize? Why does Elliot get to decide when the music starts or stops? These ideas are clearly presented in this world of children's games but Taranto and Wood cleverly have them seep into a real-world context and have you questioning who makes the rules for us and why?

Pass the Parcel! is Taranto and Wood's first collaboration together and if this debut is anything to go by, I genuinely can't wait to see what they do next. Pass the Parcel! is a must for anyone wanting to get in touch with their inner child while having a laugh at adult jokes in an extremely fun-filled evening of games and reflection.


Venue: Tasma Terrace, 4-7 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
 until 7 April | 9:30pm
 50 minutes
 $34 Full | $31 Conc | $29 Tightarse Tuesday
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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