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Review: Wigging Out at the Factory Theatre

By Lily Stokes

Razzmatazz, a magical place where Telletubbie Land meets Fountain Lakes, is home to noodle girls Rachael Fairweather and Lauren McNaught. Their newest show ‘Wigging Out’ follows an expedition from their idyllic wig garden to the harsh and shameful world of Sydney, as they journey to rescue their prized wig Marcia from the evil King of Parramatta Road. Travelling through cannibal-stricken Myer, pigeon-ravaged Bakers Delight and Engadine Community Hall, the Noodle Girls arrive at Paddy’s Markets for a battle of epic proportions.

I should've considered myself warned when I read that 'Wigging Out' would “slap [me] in the face with a wet sock full of characters, songs and steaming hot synthetic hair”. However, nothing could’ve prepared me for the side-splitting absurdism embodied by both Fairweather and McNaught. As seen in the huge amount of belly laughs from the audience, the two have refined a unique and self-deprecating style of comedy which sits comfortably in awkward silence and reclaims the terrible. Appearing as a plethora of satirized Sydney locals, the two’s transformation through accent, physicality and facial expressions was as impressive as it was funny. There is something so charming about the ability to lose all dignity in the name of comedy.

What was particularly commendable about the production was its surprisingly cohesive structure. I’ve often found that similar sketch-show styles can be a loosely connected shambles that relies on the audience to connect the dots. But a journey through Sydney was the perfect vehicle to portray a range of eccentric characters and silly situations, each perfectly realized by both Fairweather and McNaught. It made the absurd seem reasonable, with complete character transformations housed in a mere change of wig.

Despite the limitations of the space and the set (considering the restricted bump-in and bump-out time at Fringe), ‘Wigging Out’ resurfaced an array of otherwise forgotten relics of Australia’s early 2000s. Thanks to Shannon Sweeney’s audio-visual work, a feeling of communal nostalgia for crappy free-to-air TV was felt throughout the show. Adventure game show ‘Who Dares Wins’ was transformed into ‘Who Adair’s Wins’, where audience members were forced to undertake linen-related challenges. The classic “you haven’t been to market’s ‘til you’ve been to Paddy’s” ad was distorted into a melting dystopian nightmare. Each of the noodle girls’ wigs was named after an Australian Idol contestant of the past, making me genuinely wonder “whatever happened to Paulini?”

A small but necessary criticism is how demographic specific the show was. With the extensive references to Australian youth culture, it made me wonder how accessible the show was to audiences outside of Fairweather and McNaught’s experience. Despite this, if you got the jokes, you really got them. The noodlegirls are hilarious, and the show forces you to reflect on the ridiculousness of your own everyday reality.

All in all, I left ‘Wigging Out’ with a huge grin on my face. In the hours post-performance, I found myself giggly at the memory of the show. In my opinion, that’s what makes comedy worth going to. If ‘Wigging Out’ was a wet sock, consider me slapped. 

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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