After being part of The Sexy Detectives (Melbourne Fringe 2014 and MICF 2015), David Massingham has gone solo in this one hander sketch show Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls. He sets the tone with some requisite French accordion music and uses the themes of art and things of a French persuasion in some sketches. Things branch out into other fields, many with comically violent intent, including bizarre surgical practices, a small town marketing scheme, multiple requests for vengeance and many aborted Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
All the characters he introduces us to are played as broad as possible for maximum wackiness. He is surely a student of the wild eyed looney school of acting and it works a treat. A script of bad puns, overt melodrama and witty wordplay has the audience constantly giggling if not in hysterics.
Massingham makes brilliant use of a flip book on an easel to set scenes, interact with his worlds and manipulate the audience. This combined with lighting changes, a bit of costuming, music and voice overs bring the scenarios to life beautifully.
A large majority of the sketches involve some audience interaction that requires them to leave their seat and join him on or near the stage, some on multiple occasions. While the sketches are tightly scripted, he leaves some wiggle room to react to punters actions and responses so that he can show off his impro talents developed with The Big Hoo Haa. There is nothing socially threatening, embarassing or complicated in these parts, he just wants you to join him in creating these scenarios. You can refuse Massingham’s invitations to join and he will (eventually) leave you be but he hasn’t as yet developed many amusing outs for those who won’t (or are unable to) play with him. I’m sure he will be able to read the punters better as the season progresses and adapt accordingly.
Massingham has created an inventive sketch experience that delights and has the power to regularly have you falling about with laughter. If you don’t mind taking part in his crazy universe rather than passively observing it, you will have a wonderful time.
Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls is on at Tasma Terrace until April 8