The Travelling Sisters – Toupé

By Peter Newling

Australian comedy is going through a bit of a purple patch, with an amazing generation of young comics coming through – think Susie Youssef, the Kates, Rama Nicholas, Joel Creasey, <insert name of your favourite young Aussie comic here>. And The Travelling Sisters have well and truly reserved three places at this illustrious table.

Lucy Fox, Laura Trenerry and Ell Sachs are outstanding comics in their own right, but together, they’re a powerhouse.

Walking into to the Backstage room of the Town Hall, we were greeted by these three smiling performers, bedecked in Elizabethan ruffs, who welcomed us to the show. Their easy-going patter with the audience assured us that we were in safe hands.

The three offer an odd combination of sketch, music, dance and physical comedy. It’s a daring brand of shtick that requires lots of trust – in each other, and of their audience. They are obviously very comfortable performing together, and generate an amazing rapport – both within the sisterhood, and also with the audience.

Their material is brassy, bold and outlandish. Their subject matter covers topics from dancing lollypop ladies to the perils of female gym changerooms to depressed cacti – all done with an infectious playfulness, cheekiness and an appreciation of the absurd. The audience sing-along is one of the more unusual you’re ever likely to be part of.

True of all sketch comedy, some of it works better than others. Their songs are well constructed and beautifully delivered. Their individual character work is terrific – with a uniform level of OTT-ness and silliness across all three performers.

One of the things that delighted me was the thought that they have put into their transitions. It’s a prop and costume heavy piece, but at no stage were the audience left sitting waiting for the next part of the performance to commence. Even the act of taking a wig out of a suitcase was given the full theatrical treatment. The recorded music underpinning the transitions is astonishing.

The finale is a work of art, and worth the price of admission alone.

In short, this show is a joy. If you thrive on abject silliness and abstraction across a range of disciplines, delivered by three outstanding artists, this could be the show for you.

Toupé is playing in the Backstage Room at the Melbourne Town Hall until April 22

The Travelling Sisters – NOO SHO

By Lisa Clark
Travelling Sisters

The Travelling sisters ( Lucy Fox, Laura Trenerry and Ell Sachs) are one of the best new comedy sketch trios I’ve seen in a while. Considering this was the 2nd performance of their new show, Noo Sho was a pretty entertaining hour of sketch comedy.

Noo Sho is not the kind of show trying to make you think or learn, it’s just pure, adorable silliness. The skits themselves don’t really have any connecting theme. They are mostly short and only a song about the High School Formal runs a bit too long. It could do with some backing music to pump it up too. Some skits are plain perplexing and some don’t go anywhere interesting but the performers are always engaging & fun to spend time with. I’m always impressed by comedic performers who are willing to forget their ego on stage to get the laughs. The best sketch was about two ladies in a dressing room after yoga with the universal humour of someone who keeps up a conversation when you just wish they would leave but are too polite to say. It plays out beautifully with a bit of weirdness towards the end that almost spoils it. All the more interesting because it is about getting changed and that is a big part of this show.

The costume changes have to be addressed because the costumes and wigs are elaborate and impressive and most of the changes happen on the lit stage. They have written some lovely music for these interludes and the little bits of audience interaction are delightful (not too overdone) but they sometimes feel longer than some of the skits. They are pretty good at choreography, so a bit more stylisation – even if it was just for 1 or 2 of the changes would add some interest for the audience. If not I’m sure these bits will tighten up as the show goes on.

It is not surprising to learn that they are all Gaulier girls. It shows in their physical prowess and strong stage presence. This helps them get laughs from the flimsiest of pretexts. There are also a lot of great ideas, but some need a bit of work to bring them to a more satisfying level. They asked for feedback at the end and my main advice would be to open with the toadstools & do a bit more with them. Otherwise an enjoyable hour with heaps of potential.

NOO SHO is on at Lithuanian Club – The Loft & Arts House – Underground from September 15 to 23

5 Good Reasons to see The Travelling Sisters in NOO SHO!

1. We play our own mothers, which is very new and very weird, and very fun. In the show they are lollipop ladies with tiny stop signs.

2. There is the most epic mini 80s musical about a queer teen romance you will see this Fringe.

3. We dress up as mushrooms and the costumes are very good.

4. We were nominated for Best Newcomer at Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April and this will be our first time not being ‘new’ in Melbourne.

5. We love performing as much as we love each other – which is a lot – and we’d love to meet you.

NOO SHO! is on at Lithuanian Club – The Loft and Arts House – Underground from September 15 tp 23

The Travelling Sisters

By Ron Bingham
It’s amazing how much these three young Australian women managed to pack into 45 minutes. We had magic, folk music, a larger than life diva, some improv, a bit of hippie-hop and some very surreal floral dancing. The room is a very weird shape (it is square at the front then seems to sort of bend round a corner towards the back) and I would recommend that anyone wishing to see all of the stage action get a seat as close to the front as possible. The audience interaction is minimal and innocuous, so nervous punters can be assured of their safety.

Hailing from Brisbane Ell Sachs, Laura Trenerry and Lucy Fox bring all their experience and energy into giving the audience a fun time. There was hardly a quiet moment in the whole show, as one sketch flowed into the next (with the performers having deftly co-ordinated the costume changes and personnel, meaning there was always someone on stage). I was expecting more of the cabaret side of the show description, so the amount of comedy in the show was a pleasant surprise. I can’t give too many details about the actual sketches without giving away punchlines, but if you enjoy seeing some very funny ladies at lunchtime, then this is an excellent choice. It is part of the Free Fringe, so you pay what you think the show was worth. My opinion is that it’s definitely worth seeing.