Tea With Dystopia

By Colin Flaherty

When you put comedians Marek Platek and Firdi Billimoria together you get one weird sketch show. From a bizarre instructional tape about interacting with others to a vacuum powered IQ adjustment device to the sound guy gingerly bringing out pictures to share with the audience, this was an hour that threw many strange ideas at the wall and hoped that they would stick. A lot of it was weirdness for weirdness sake but they managed to keep the audience in hysterics throughout.

It was quite a wild ride with sketches that went all over the place and kept the audience on their toes. These sketches were generally a bit too long but by packing in as much variety as possible they ensured that interest rarely waned. They often veered into completely unrelated territory within a sketch. We assumed that they had segued into the next one by stealth but, through some twisted logic, they would connect back to the original idea and tie things up; sometimes neatly. Some scenes went to brilliant inspired places but others just petered out and had everyone scratching their heads over what they just witnessed. Regular deconstruction of the show and call backs displayed a clever side to the silliness and faux spats gave the impression that everything could fall apart at any minute.

The thing that kept it all glued together was Platek and Billimoria’s talent in selling the material. Billimoria was great in being comically shouty and playing things straight while Platek did something wacky in the background. Platek pleased the crowd with his exaggerated facial expressions and was always up for stripping off his gear to look silly. The guys bounced effortlessly off one another and maintained impressive control over this anarchic setting even amidst an audience revolt. There was plenty of comedic tension to spice things up with some colourful insulting phrases and lots of slapstick, between each other as well as some innocent bystanders.

Those expecting clear narrative structure may find themselves getting a little lost but those in the mood for the strange and bizarre will have a fine time.

Tea With Dystopia is on at The Portland Hotel at 10:15pm until September 30