By Naomi Hamer
“Hot Potato, Hot Potato” echoes through the speakers as we sit down for Bub Club and between each act of this split bill. We’re greeted by an Acknowledgement of Country by one of the performers from offstage, something I haven’t personally witnessed at a stand up comedy gig before but is worth noting. We’re then introduced to the voice of Doris, Elliot’s mum, who reads out the introduction to our first bub for the evening Elliot Stewart (RAW National Finalist 2019). Stewart isn’t just a comedy bub at 18, he’s a real bub. Such a bub that he attempts to open a bottle of water on stage but gives up, going thirsty and starting what becomes a running thread that both Alia Lievore and Kathryn Thomas pick up throughout their sets. Lievore says she was already thirsty before coming onstage and decided to wait until she got on stage to have some water before looking longingly at the bottle and deciding quietly against opening it. But our queen Thomas doesn’t care and not only can she open a bottle of water but she also drinks it. A comedian who can quench her own thirst.
Having only finished school in 2018, Elliot Stewart starts the evening off with a series of bits and one liners that for the most part poke fun at himself and his parents. This set sees Stewart carving out a geeky persona for himself, from his mannerisms to his one liners about video games and being bullied in school. I’ve also never been a part of such a great crowd before if his praises were anything to go by. Stewart’s set showed a young comedian, early in his career and full of potential. Our second bub for the evening is Alia Lievore, who is again introduced by her mum Doris. It’s now that I’m realising for three comedians who don’t seem to be related, it seems like an odd coincidence that they all have a mother named Doris, with the same voice but I digress. Lievore starts by naming almost everyone in the audience except for a few of us. Her wit is dry and knowingly self-deprecating with stories comparing her sister’s greatest achievement for the year - representing Australia in women’s football to herself - representing herself in front of the state tenancy tribunal for not paying rent. But we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to those around us we’re told and each comedian’s set was unique in their own way.
Last but definitely not least, our third bub in Bub Club is Kathryn Thomas. Like Stewart, Thomas was also a RAW National Finalist for 2019, which is no mean feat especially since they both tied for first place in the New South Wales RAW state finals. Unlike Stewart and Lievore though, Doris is actually Thomas’ mum and her set seemed to be made up of mostly new material which saw her testing the waters including the story that she closed on and was clearly very uncomfortable retelling in front of her parents but like a champion, told anyway. “For everyone here tonight this story is real, to my parents this story is made up”. While all our comedians are bubs, early in their professional careers Lievore and Thomas, point of difference seems to be they’re progression into their mid twenties and all this entails. From growing up and living by themselves or at least Marie Kondo-ing their current housemates who don’t spark enough joy out and being made redundant. But we’re here for all of it.
Bub Club - With Elliot, Alia and Kathryn was an enjoyable split bill of comedians on the verge of their careers and a great taster for the sharp wit and eye that each of them will bring to the Sydney comedy scene. While each comedian had their own style, one element that often feels universal for Australian comedy is self-deprecation and Bub Club had it in lots of unopened bottles of water.
Bub Club - With Elliot, Kathryn and Alia runs from 3 - 7 September 2019 at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville as part of Sydney Fringe.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.