Review by Lucy Holz
As I clap The Umbilical Brothers taking their bows, they tell the audience “make sure you go and see Hannah Camilleri!” I in fact, already have a ticket to see Camilleri and her show ‘Lolly bag’, so this recommendation only heightens my anticipation.
Fresh from an award-winning run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Camilleri’s show is a bag of sketch comedy sweets including 50 minutes of perfectly crafted skits and characters.
An exceptionally well balanced show, the audience are treated to a variety of characters, ranging from the cranky teacher we all had in year 8 to an old Hollywood murderess on a rampage.
Sketch can be hit and miss, but Lolly Bag is hit after hit. Immediately winning over the audience with her softly spoken mechanic, Camilleri proves herself to be an expert in audience interaction.
Camilleri keeps the audience involved throughout the show, consistently reminding us we are watching a performance. This allows for playful moments of improvisation and covers her for any hiccups, allowing her to tell us a transition is taking a little longer because “I’ve lost a prop!”
The show swiftly moves from relatable archetypes we see in everyday life into more absurd characters. After an elaborate bit involving the keys of several audience members, we are then asked to make sound effects for a cowboy roaming the streets.
The audience fumble their way through, prompted by the mimed movements of Camilleri. By the time we are expected to wrangle a voice for the character, tears are running down my cheeks from the laughter. It’s not a skit I would expect to elicit such a response, but I’m laughing more than I have at anything this entire festival.
Finishing her show with a song that is still running through my head today, Lolly Bag is an example of the best sketch can be. The following night I have some free time and seriously consider seeing Lolly Bag again, eager to witness how different the show is with each new audience.
If you only have time for one show this festival, it should be Lolly Bag. Hilarious from start to finish, Camilleri takes a tricky medium and makes it her own with ease. A masterclass in successful sketch, this show is selling out quickly and not just because I’m going back every night.