Anthony Locascio – Pappou

By Nick Bugeja

You can find Anthony Locascio’s Pappou, a show about family and ethnic heritage, personal dreams, and all sorts of other tangential topics, in the quaint basement of an alleyway bar. The labyrinthine trip to the cellar of Bard’s Apothecary, through the hallway-sized bar and down a flight of stairs, is worth it to see Locascio live.

He’s a sympathetic and likeable performer who’s able to keep the central narrative of his show—his relationship with his Greek grandfather, or Pappou—meaningful and engaging while swerving into large chunks of varied material, such as pet dogs, racism and multiculturalism, and why football (that is, soccer) is Australia’s only ‘bona fide’ sport.

Locascio, an Australian of Greek and Italian heritage, draws on his own ethnic and family background to great effect, without succumbing to the banality of ethnic comedy and stereotypes which more well-known comics sometimes are guilty of. He leans on this material without overly relying on it, and he demonstrates a keen appreciation of his background and a reverence for family, rendering his show genuinely enjoyable. Additionally, you might even leave the show with a word or two of Greek.

At its heart, Locascio’s Pappou is about his relationship with his obstinate, hardheaded grandfather. For various reasons—personal, social and cultural—their relationship is distant and at arms-length; strained. Yet, there are many parallels in their lives, none more relevant to the show than that both of them have dreams of greatness. His Pappou aspired to be a professional goalkeeper representing the Socceroos, as Locascio’s ambitions to maintain a comedy career—while being conscious of competing considerations, like building a family—remain in motion.

It’s a sincere and fun show. Despite the best efforts of some audience members to interrupt and frustrate Locascio by thoughtlessly heckling, Locascio invariably maintained his poise and dealt with them patiently and humorously, where many others may have erupted in a fury.

Pappou is on at Bard’s Apothecary until April 10