Reviewed by Lisa Clark
What Better way to decompress after the last two years than to let Jude and Scotty lead us through the hellscape of our unprecedented, shared experience?
The house music is a string of gorgeous showtunes alternating between Judy Garland and Carol Channing while the stage is set with two comfy lounge chairs, a lamp, an old radio, a harp on a plinth… it’s a setting to evoke a comforting homey vibe for two best friends enduring lockdown together. The set seems to be ready and waiting, quietly, for the chaos to unfold.
Judith Lucy and Denise Scott do not let us down. Melbourne’s own odd couple tell the best and funniest tales about the pandemic. Each leave the stage throughout on various pretexts, usually to do with the latest fad hobby of the pandemic, many of which, we’d forgotten about. This gives the other the time and space to have some intimate storytelling time with the audience. There are also big silly props, wigs, costumes, singing, dancing, running gags galore and surprise special guests. Wackiness builds to a hilarious, surprise, apocalyptic crescendo, but don’t panic, we are in the safe hands of professionals.
Denise and Judith have been making comedy together for decades and they’ve been working this show up before audiences interstate, so unsurprisingly it’s tight as a drum. Yes, OK, I’ve heard them do quite a bit of this material, over the past year or so, but I’m a fan, so have been following what they’ve been up to. I find I’m laughing my arse off anyway and it makes the surprises all the more enjoyable. I’m hugely impressed with how they’ve put this whole show together, well, they’ve had plenty of time on their hands and have used lockdown wisely, it’s a fabulous production.
I’ve seen a lot of their joint work and honestly think this is the best show they’ve done. To take some pretty genuinely dark, depressing experiences and spin them into cathartic comedy gold takes talent and experience. They’ve still got it and They’re Still Here. Thank god.
Judith Lucy and Denise Scott perform Still Here at The Arts Centre Playhouse until April 24