Sonia Di Iorio : Brain Colours

By Noel Kelso

One of the revelations of the last couple of years of attending live comedy shows has been the quality of sketch comedy which is coming through on the scene. This allows the comedians to keep the laughs flowing in a series of bite-sized segments without the need for a continuous narrative or awkward gear-changes in topic which can sometimes arise in stand-up. Local talents such as Lords of Luxury, Wizards Sandwiches and the sketch Gods that are Jimmy James Eaton and Jason Geary have been joined by a fresh voice from the world of stand in the form of Sonia Di Iorio.

Sonia is perhaps more familiar to regular comedy attendees as a stand-up comedian – her previous show ‘Don’t Kiss The Weird Girl’ being an hour of stand-up based around her experiences of others perceptions of her in contrast to her own which entertained audiences at the last Fringe and Comedy festival. Here she tickles the funny bone with a different tactic inhabiting the lives of over twenty different characters each caught in their own bizarre, sometimes cringeworthy, situations.

Clearly an accomplished performer, Di Iorio has no qualms of allowing each scene to form from its own premise in a clear and concise manner such that the audience are instantly familiar with the scenario being presented so that there is the minimum of dead-air between sketches. Characters are believably sketched in just the first moments of appearing, their form and personalities clearly distinguishable from each other through the performer’s, often subtle, physical and vocal mannerisms.

Through the course of the show we meet the owner of a New Age herbal medicine shop who is really the victim of nominative determinism; learn how blokes form opinions of one another via their chosen nickname and eavesdrop on the readings being made by an honest psychic. There are some running gags also – such as a character who periodically appears and gets lost in the high-energy music to which they are listening or the person listening to tunes about the apocalypse – which have rather satisfying and very funny conclusions to them. One of the most memorable sketches involves very few words and is a testament to the comedian’s ability to communicate largely through body language as she procrastinates and becomes increasingly more distracted by a bag of crisps.

Sometimes sketch comedy can suffer from the need to transition from one scenario into the next, particularly if the show only has one performer but Di Iorio manages these transitions for the most part smoothly and delivers her lines clearly and distinctly so as to leave no confusion as to when we have begun a fresh scenario.

Overall this is a very funny show from a performer who seems to have found their calling and I look forward to seeing more sketch comedy from her in future.

Sonia Di Iorio – Brain Colours is on at the Imperial Hotel at 6pm until September 25th.
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/sonia-di-iorio-in-brain-colours/

Sonia Di Iorio : Don’t Kiss the Weird Girl

By Alanta Colley

Sonia Di Ioro is ‘the weird girl’. She presents us with an account of her run-ins with nasty teenage girls, boys, disaster, and subsequent self-loathing, which, in De Iorio’s case, usually involves nachos and sambuca.

Starting life off as a shy girl Di Iorio explains her non-intuitive attraction to the stage. We hear of the effect of her Catholic upbringing, her first crush, life in Geelong, and the parties where her resilient relationship with alcohol began. We hear of the many years of singledom she’s endured, and the agony of having to console friends in relationships.

The show isn’t offensive, or poorly structured. Di Iorio structures her narrative well around the journey from the first time she held a microphone, and draws conclusions from how those dramatic words of bullying teenagers have shaped her life. She’s enhanced her story with audio-visual glimpses into her childhood; adding authenticity to her narrative and supporting the story arc to the point we meet De Iorio.

The problem with Di Iorio’s tale is that it just isn’t very interesting. De Iorio will have you believe that she’s wacky and weird; when her tale of drinking, heartbreak and frustration of being single is a very common experience. If the show has a strength it is that almost everyone can relate an almost identical story to her own. Claiming to be quirky or weird, particularly among shows at this festival that genuinely re-define weird, is unconvincing. Also, De Iorio, claiming to be ‘undateable’, then follows with story after story of men who are interested in her. This contradiction created an unstable base for the narrative.

The show, and perhaps De Iorio, need more diverse experiences. Stories of kissing boy after boy just wasn’t interesting enough to justify an entire hour. De Iorio’s show is relatable, and well structured, though didn’t break any new ground.

Don’t Kiss the Weird Girl is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 19
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/don-t-kiss-the-weird-girl-sonia-di-iorio

5 Good Reasons to see a Melbourne Fringe Festival show at The Imperial

Five Reasons to visit The Imperial during Melbourne Fringe

ONE) The Imperial will be hosting 19 fringe shows this year! All comedy!

3 LITTLE GIGS
OUR LITTLE STORIES
XANDER ALLAN – GLAM
SIMON TAYLOR – FUNNY
LOVE, FACTUALLY WITH TOM LANG
NELLIE WHITE IS THE SHITTY CARER
NEIL SINCLAIR ‘CHARMINGLY USELESS’
VICTORIA HEALY PRESENTS WE ♥ COMEDY
MURPHY MCLACHLAN HAS TWO LAST NAMES
SONIA DI IORIO – DON’T KISS THE WEIRD GIRL
THE LATE NIGHT BOARD GAME SLUMBER PARTY WITH MIKE BROWN AND FRIENDS
SOME NUTTER’S DONE A RUNNER WITH CRAIG MCLEOD AND DOUG GORDON
THE HAPPIEST BOWERBIRD AND OTHER STORIES BY JONATHAN SCHUSTER
SITCOM THEME SONG SINGALONG (AND TRIVIA) WITH BERT GOLDSMITH
PEOPLE CRYING ‘ADAM KNOX’ AS THEY LEAP FROM PLANES
ROLAND HOFFMANN – EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT
BEING A WHEEL FAMILY. MEET THE MCGERES
BEAU STEGMANN: HERE’S LOOKING AT ME…
COME HECKLE JESUS

TWO) We have a lot of shows on every night. You can show up, and know something will be on. In fact, we only have two nights off for the whole festival (the first two Saturdays). We have shows starting on the hour, and we’ll have some discount drinks cards around for anyone who wants to come and hang out in between shows. We’re a comedy hub!

THREE) Whether you want to sing along to sit com themesongs, or shout abuse at Jesus Christ, we have a show for every taste! We also have a lot with zero audience participation, if the singing and heckling isn’t your style. The Imperial is a great place to take a punt on a new show. Our volunteers on the door can tell you all about the shows, and make recommendations based on your tastes. Sketch, poetry, standup, impro, storytelling, and whatever else you can think of.

FOUR) We are very generous. Head to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/impycomedy) where we will be giving away tix and keeping everyone up to date on deals, whether tickets will be available on the door and of course, instagramming the hell out of the whole thing.

FIVE) The Imperial is a great place to observe comics in their natural habitat. Stick around after the show, have a beer with these kids, and you’ll be fast friends. Buy the beer, and you’ll have a friend for life.

The Imperial is one of the main Fringe Festival venues in Melbourne’s CBD at the corner of Bourke and Spring streets right near Parliament Station.

Find out more at The Imperial Website

http://comedyattheimperial.com/

Almost Almost Almost Famous

By Colin Flaherty.

A group show featuring some newish faces on the scene is the perfect event to take a chance on, in that you are sure to make an interesting discovery. Almost Almost Almost Famous is one such production that provides a solid hour of laughs from a quartet of stand up comedians who, given the cheeky title, have lofty ambitions.

Courtney Parker opened up the show with a self confessed set of on-stage therapy. A large portion of her set revolved around her Bogan father which included an indecipherable recording of him that went on a touch too long. An extended story about some pathology procedures had the audience in fits as our hero went from one embarrassment to the next. Her use of small props to make plenty of witty comments was well done and her closing segment complete with adorable visual aides and cutesy singing made the crowd fall in love with this slightly daggy girl.

Up next was Murphy McLachlan who is very much an old school joke teller; short shaggy dog tales with zinger punchlines. This joke telling with tenuous linking is somewhat of a rarity these days and piqued my interest. An example was the inclusion of a trio of bad puns just for the hell of it got the huge groans they deserved but were fun nonetheless. A fair bit of his material was steeped in Ironic Misogyny (which was entertaining if you identified it as such) but he dared to push it too far with a line of extremely poor taste that almost made the audience turn on him. Fortunately he was able to back-peddle successfully and win us back with his cheeky persona.

Next on stage came Sonia Di Iorio with observations on being single, trashy television, rap music and . In spite of the pedestrian topics, she had a cynicism and world weariness (in spite of her youth) that provided a nice edge to her material. Sonia was supremely confident on stage and personable enough to command everyone’s attention to keep them laughing. Her decision to end on a long story that clearly had a weak pay-off was a bold move, especially when she admitted that she only has the length of this shows run to work it out.

Rounding out the show was Anthony Jeannot whose jokes traded heavily on grammatical pedantry and cynicism. Targets such as his personal trainer, his girlfriend and various fellow commuters all copped a serve with his eloquent and clever lines that were counterbalanced with silly figurative jokes. He closed with a reading of a letter to a multinational company which perfectly captured the innocence of childhood along with a jaded attitude to add extra bite.

With enough variety in the comedic styles this was a fun hour from some great up and comers (must…resist…using… the line… about…seeing them…before…they are…famous!).

Almost Almost Almost Famous is on at The Bull & Bear

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2012/season/shows/almost-almost-almost-famous/