Review By Alice Fowler and Flora Norton
The Athenaeum Theatre was an explosion of energy, enthusiasm, and community on Friday night when rising star “My Cousin Vlad” took to the stage for the Melbourne instalment of his national tour: ‘The People Have Lost It’. Having garnered an audience primarily from the Greek and Italian community, My Cousin Vlad’s show provides an unfiltered and hilarious commentary of his culture and community’s traditions and audience engagement was at an all-time high.
The show was loud, energized, and over-the-top with home-made music videos, parody songs and live music all underpinned by My Cousin Vlad’s unashamedly crude and on-the-nose sense of humour. The projectors, videos, and songs, combined with the heckling and audience interaction all contributed to a sense of disarray and anarchy that made you feel like you were inside a performance rather than merely watching one.
My Cousin Vlad has the knack of finding humour in everyday experiences, particularly those relating to the experiences of Greek migrants in Australia and poking fun at everything from modern fashion trends to the metaverse. While many of the punchlines may soar over your head if you are not part of the Greek and Italian community, the roars of laughter from those around you and the absurdity and physicality of My Cousin Vlad’s performance will be enough to draw you into the warmth exuding from his show.
The subject matter strays from mocking the lip-filled and boob-enhanced people of Sydney, to a deep dive into ideas of family and marriage in his culture, to an expose of the clash between Greek/Italian migrants and other Australians. Moreover, nobody is safe from being the subject of a Vlad impression. From his wife to Elon Musk, to everyday Australians, Vlad doesn’t discriminate who he stereotypes, nor does he hold back in his rants as he charges through the hour-long show, giving his unique and eccentric perspective on everything and everyone.
The show is ridiculous, unconventional, and engaging, if somewhat unrelatable to those not as engaged with his community. For me it was certainly worth the watch, even for an insight into a different side of Australia and exposure to a new sense of humour and style of comedy. The people certainly lost it at “The People Have Lost It” and the show brought the house down, validating My Cousin Vlad’s Instagram notoriety and his “Rising Star” label.