Warning! This is a Silly Show. Zoë makes this clear up front. So anyone looking for an hour of dark, edgy, political gear, should change their expectations, relax and enjoy the ride. Zoë’s having fun with a biographical story telling show.
The audience is primed by the house music as we wait, including Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” then “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (I think I sense a theme here….) So I recommend you come early to hear the great tracks. The closing outro song is a corker too and is referenced in the show so I’ll leave it for you to discover.
The world is dark, so Zoë is evoking happier tales from her teen years, in particular, the one of the happiest days of her life. There are references to typical painful teen experiences such as being embarrassed by her changing body, her hippy parents and being clueless about life, but generally, her stories are from “simpler times” and mostly very silly. The audience are laughing delightedly and she has a great knack of taking it up a notch by throwing in some hilarious asides and zingers. Apparently this show harkens back somewhat to her first solo Festival show, which I did not see, but did recognise some motifs from previous shows; the banana, reality Vs illusion, the ironic significance of Puppetry of the Penis popping up way too often and she slams down a political quip that had the room exploding with delight.
Previous shows by Zoë, that I’ve seen, have been fairly extreme, with bizarre surprises and basically destroying the joint. Her alternate persona Dave is gone, but Zoë retains his unshakable confidence and has learned to play the audience like an instrument. She had the room laughing, groaning and even cheering throughout. Surprises are still up her sleeve, but there is more of the playful Zoë, enjoying the hell out of her time on stage with her audience.
In Agony! Misery! The Festival award winning Zoë Coombs Marr proves (again) that she is one of Australia’s leading standup comedians and that her shows will continue to dazzle our expectations. You have been warned.
Zoe Coombes Marr Agony! Misery! is on at The Melbourne Town Hall til April 18