Flo & Joan Alive On Stage

By Lisa Clark 

It’s always wonderful to discover a new comedy act to become a fan of and Flo & Joan blew me away with their astonishing, hilarious musical comedy.

Flo & Joan don’t do a lot of banter between songs. These are fairly formal proceedings. We don’t find out much about them or their relationship apart from the fact that they are sisters and that they are not really named Flo & Joan. They are Nicola and Rosie Dempsey and use stage names taken from their grandmother and her sister. The show is made up of very funny songs that are broken up by reading out real, on-line comments they’ve received and giving their responses, that occasionally reveal a bit more about their individual personalities and a hint at sibling rivalry.

Their musical comedy style is very English, I would describe them as daughters of Noel Coward and Victoria Wood. They are very deadpan in their approach and don’t do a lot of in between song banter or off the cuff chat but are still delightful to watch live. The songs are very tightly and densely written with clever and witty lyrics filled with jokes and surprises. Some are about current events, such as companies who patronise women by creating a ‘female’ version of their product, or common experiences such as having a bit too much to drink, and, having had some dreadful troll experiences online, they have written a super duper of a response to top them all. The real crowd-pleaser is their gift for patter songs in this case “Carol the Cracker Packer”.

I heard about Flo & Joan a couple of years ago and put them on my list of must see shows for this year, then was very impressed when I saw them do a couple of songs at the MICF Launch. It made me very excited that I was going to see them and they didn’t let me down. Neither of those songs were in the show, so there were no spoilers, but those songs were certainly a strong indicator of their talent and style. It also attests to the large repertoire they’ve built up. They have 2 albums for sale.

Discovering Flo & Joan has become the highlight of the festival for me so far. If you are big fans of smart, topical, musical comedy, rush out and see them before their shows become as expensive as Tim Minchin!

Flo & Joan are Alive On Stage at The Melbourne Town Hall til Apr 21