Twice Shy

By Colin Flaherty

An encore season of their Melbourne Comedy Festival show, Twice Shy sees Shannon Woodford and Joel Checkley portray two lonely souls, Rosemary and Jonathan, who are destined to be together.

This was an incredibly sweet show that proudly displayed its vintage and homemade aesthetics. From the filmed segments using Super 8, patchwork screens at the sides of the stage and the indie folk music by their friends Cavanagh and Argus, everything screamed whimsy. There’s the odd humorous reference specifically catering to the young inner city crowd (the natural target audience) but they also flip things around to have a gentle dig at the hipsters.

The main structure of the show saw the two main characters going about their day through alternating scenes until the pair eventually met. While there were some attempts so show Rosemary and Jonathan as downtrodden loners through various social interactions, they were predominantly used as a straight (wo)man to a menagerie of colourful and often grotesque types (played by the opposing actor with a minimum of props and costuming). This came dangerously close to being a mere show-reel to show off their character work but what a showcase of their talents it was! Woodford and Checkley both did a brilliant job in bringing these characters to life by putting on silly voices to portray both genders and added plenty of amusing physicality to the roles.

In addition to the action taking place on stage, this performance was a visual and auditory feast. A narrator pushed the plot along at a decent clip and provided most of the exposition. Wonderful video clips (starring a pair of brilliantly expressive children as the young Rosemary and Jonathan) silently told the back stories of our heroes with some visual jokes. We were even treated to a show-stopping musical number complete with daggy choreography.

The conclusion relied heavily on video to wrap things up. It added the odd joke to raise a chuckle but tended to go on a little long and was rather heavy on the schmaltz. A costume change in the final scene (quite notable as every other scene relied heavily on mime rather than costuming) denoted the passing of time and nothing else. The pair simply stands on stage together as we remark to ourselves “what an adorable couple!” The result was a show that doesn’t end on a huge laugh but leaves you with a smile on your face and a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Twice Shy is on at Loop until Oct 1
Visit the Fringe site for booking details.