By Laura Heuston
As part of Sydney Fringe Comedy I was treated to a Graham Norton-esque parody of the talk show format, featuring the eccentric, high energy Eugene. Jeromaia Detto took the lead as our bouncing-off-the-walls host, complete with a fabulously tight gold suit (although he’s more than the suit guys, wow), badly fitting round glasses and the most extra European accent I’ve come across in some time. His three guests were Jacinta Gregory, Brendan “Hot Bitch” Hancock and Ahmed Zubb, who each gave us a sample of their own shows and competed in twists on talk show games.
This show has a lot of great content, however it is a gag that really requires a large audience to work. Aside from involving a lot of audience participation (I cannot in good conscience say that you might be able to avoid this if you sit in the back- be prepared), it was the kind of high energy performance from Detto that needs a larger number of people. He should have bounced off the excitement of an audience, but that only ever happens when people feel comfortably covered in the big crowd. This audience was far too small for this show to truly work, and because of the lack of people the laughs were subdued. That being said, the show was genuinely funny and the comedians did a simply brilliant job of pushing through the quiet and maintaining the energy and character.
Jacinta Gregory was the first of Eugene’s guest, and the halting awkwardness of her character was hilarious against the manic energy of Eugene. Producing a pink collar and chain from a nearby blow-up pot plant, she showcased her fantastic voice and brought us into the world of a shy bisexual who wants to hook up but truly struggles at the gay club. Her humor comes through the self-deprecating frustration that never veers close to aggression, and her ability to make weird and unexpected content somehow relatable.
Brendan “Hot Bitch” Hancock is the complete opposite, as an Instagram influencer he has the overwhelming confidence of someone who doesn’t technically have a real job, but does have a rich uncle. Complete with deliciously fake laughter and temper when it comes to taking photos (seriously, don’t mess with his brand) Brendan manages to infuriate and inspire at the same time, despite the fact that he is in the “crying in public” phase of a breakup.
Finally, we had Ahmed Zubb- “The King of Ethnic Comedy”- who really, truly, loves his kebabs. There is nothing that cannot be transformed into a kebab it would seem, assuming that we’re imagining that “[insert famous person here] was a leb”. And there are a lot of celebrities that may have been Lebanese and could have made their symbols and catch-phrases kebabs. The world would be a different place, and Ahmed would not have to constantly deal with the fall out of the Lebanese/Greek war that apparently happened.
While the first half of this show was a bit slow due to the lack of audience reaction, the second half picked up wonderfully, with the three comedians playing various talk show games under the wild instruction of Eugene. His interviews include Rapid Fire Questions and the games- Where Does the Bus Go?, A & Q, and Messy Messenger- enable the comedians to showcase their improvisational abilities, which were all quite fantastic. I would recommend attending this show as it truly deserves a full audience, and the more people that are there the better it will be. There are going to be new guests every performance, and I really applaud Jeromaia for developing a platform for showcasing other comedians- this generosity contributes wonderfully to the ethos of the festival and sense of community in the comedy scene.
Eu-Geenius: Up Late with Eugene will be on Fri 30th Aug 2019 - 9:30 pm, and Sun 1st Sep 2019 - 8:30 pm at The Factory Theatre.
Jacinta Gregory’s 1980’s Depression: The Musical will be on Thu 29th Aug 2019 - 8:15 pm and Sat 31st Aug 2019 - 8:15 pm at The Factory Theatre.
Brendan Hancock’s Hats All There Is will be playing as part of Sydney Fringe Festival.
Ahmed Zubb’s Kebab Tonight is on Tue 3rd Sep 2019 - 8:15 pm, Thu 5th Sep 2019 - 8:15 pm, and Sat 7th Sep 2019 - 8:15 pm at The Factory Theatre.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.