Review by Tatum Stafford
HIGH PONY is easily the funniest, most high-energy, and most chaotic show I’ve seen at Fringe in the last few years! Saturday night’s sold-out crowd were clearly on board and in fits of laughter, which made the show even more enjoyable. It’s sadly wrapping up its run at Perth Fringe so here’s a teaser of what you can expect if the show does another lap of the country…
The show stars queer comedians and IRL friends Samantha Andrew and Mel O’Brienn; who burst onto the stage in what they accurately describe as a 9-minute cardio-heavy musical number about every possible nuance about netball that you could ever think of, including but not limited to short nails, orange slices and lesbian undertones. It was the perfect start to the show – chock-full of energy, choreo and more jokes than seems possible to cram into an opening number.
After a quick introduction to the pair, they segued into a song about Where’s Wally that seemed a strong contender for the audience’s favourite of the night (a personal highlight was a lyric along the lines of, “How can I be poly, if nobody can see me?”). Absolutely hilarious.
Other highlights included a boppy number about how it’s impossible for lesbians to get ‘the ick’, a furious cancellation of babies for a myriad of reasons; some of which they live-polled the audience on to ensure they had the buy-in from the entire room, and a series of somewhat non-verbal sketches in which they portrayed waterslide attendants, lifeguards, and even a pterodactyl.
They bop along to backing tracks (many of which sound super complex, with layered backing vocals and even more jokes crammed in), and change into a variety of costumes throughout the show, keeping the audience engaged and never leaving the stage long enough to allow for a lull.
It's obvious Mel & Sam share a deep love of performing, comedy, and musical theatre – they acknowledged not once but twice that they were in the land of WAAPA grads. I absolutely loved the little nods they infused into the show, including a snip of “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home, and “Electricity” from Billy Elliot.
I should also mention that their local references were absolutely on-point (props to whoever tipped them off about suburbs that aren’t mentioned a ton in touring Fringe shows, like Joondalup or Subiaco), and their comedic timing and delivery never missed a beat in the entire hour – even when costume malfunctions happened. These two are so quick on their feet, and so in sync with each other, it’s such a treat to watch.
The finale, a rousing ode to classic characters Annie and Daddy Warbucks with a staunch republican twist, was the perfect cherry on top of a hilariously fun night out. I am so glad they made it over to Perth, and hope this is the first of many tours west-side. Can’t wait to see what they conjure up next!