By Erin Hill
Seeing Fiannah de Rue’s show ‘It’s Not Funny’ made me want to go home and do one thing: Call the relevant industry Ombudsman and register a complaint of false advertising. Her show was NOT as advertised “not funny”, in fact it was as funny as it was sweetly nostalgic and touching. De Rue has put together a delightful show that tugs on the heartstrings as well as makes you chuckle.
A show about the death of her father doesn’t seem the fairest earth to attempt to plough for comedic content but de Rue’s personality shines through as she tackles the very real world problems of the passing of a loved one. The consideration of death as a series of administrative tasks is unexpected; for example the decision of which casket to purchase and the strange social faux pas that accompany that choice.
De Rue leads us all on a nostalgic look into her past, sharing anecdotes and an ardent love of Blue Heelers. She cleverly utilises minimal props and a high-energy almost zany amount of energy at times. She paints a vivid picture of herself as a child, and you get a sense of what made her the engaging performer you see before you on stage.
I suspect a few references flew above my cranium, and perhaps certain jokes would have landed better with context, but de Rue’s stage presence will definitely pull you past anything you miss. It’s Not Funny is a misnomer indeed; but as well as hilarious it is a gentle, moving performance of a daughter paying loving tribute to her father.
Fiannah de Rue performs It’s Not Funny at 8:30pm at Tasma Terrace until April 22nd.
1. It is funny.
2. At multiple points throughout the show Fiannah will wear a silly hat and dance to JLo. Fiannah is not a dancer.
3. It’s directed by the POWERHOUSE that is Hayley Tantau, who created the POWERHOUSE that is Cindy Salmon and you know what they say… two POWERHOUSES might just make a third POWERHOUSE… tbc…
4. Because Fiannah is from Tasmania and so are other notable comedians such as Hannah Gadsby, Luke McGregor and Jacquie Lambie.
5. It’s about death! Need I say more.
It’s Not Funny is on at Tasma Terrace from April 9 to 22
By Colin Flaherty
Blinded by the chance to appear on “Australia’s Got Festivals”, the community of Bess County embark on an ambitious town festival in spite of lack of funds, selfish individual motives and an AWOL Mayor. So begins the first stage effort of sketch group Bess County (Elyce Phillips, Simon Hawkings, Brendan Wan, Tino Merino and Fiannah De Rue).
This world was populated by plenty of wacky characters such as De Rue’s eccentric Lady Wellington, Hawkings’ DJ Gary Biscuit and Phillips’ heartbroken Tour Guide Martine. Most of the characters were introduced perfectly on their brilliant facebook page using cartoons, videos and interviews, however their translation to the stage was often a letdown.
The cast were clearly having a great time performing and this enthusiasm was infectious, but the delivery of the script wasn’t always as broad as it should have been which resulted in flat exchanges and lacklustre jokes. When they did manage to play it big they got some great laughs. Bigger wasn’t always better as demonstrated by Merino’s pre-recorded Mayoral Skype conversations that were rambling, very messy and added little to the story. These were entertaining characters to spend time with but unfortunately the laughs weren’t consistant.
There were some great ideas in this play (their take on a beauty pageant was especially inspired) but were often not pushed far enough. The audience raffle was a cute idea to enhance the country town feel of the piece but the lack of sizzle and not actually showing the lame prizes within gave us an odd scene that went nowhere except for one audience member getting a showbag.
The logic of this world was a little confusing at times. The townsfolk’s interactions with the Mayor and TV types saw them as ineffective country bumpkins but within the town community, each had their own sophisticated agenda which suggested more. The stakes of holding a successful festival beyond the TV angle weren’t clearly shown and most of the slight comical conflicts were exchanges between people who were off in their own little worlds, so it felt as if not much actually happened in some scenes.
One of my pet peeves is long periods of dark stage between scenes and unfortunately this show had this in droves. A bit of background music and a couple of videos helped pass the time but it was still annoying.
This was a valiant first effort at Fringe that that was fun but didn’t quite nail it.
The First Annual (Doris to insert) Festival is on at Club Voltaire from September 15 to 23