Review by Stephanie Lee
Never related to the phrase ‘no wukkas’? Got worries and anxiety about almost everything in this world? Then Cousin Tara has you covered with this musical comedy cabaret about anything anyone could possibly be anxious about.
Wukkas is a one-hour Melbourne International Comedy Festival show performed solo by Cousin Tara at The Butterfly Club, featuring several original songs and a bunch of hilarious stories. It not only focuses on the big wukkas like climate change and the impending annihilation of the human race, but also sheds light on those small wukkas like the pesky poop that won’t flush when you have to relieve yourself in your friend’s parent’s bathroom. Providing plenty of laughs and entertainment, all while delivering important messages about self-acceptance, pollution and bigotry- this show certainly covers a lot of ground.
Although the set and costuming are both fairly simple, everything really is used to its full potential. Even the curtains are utilised throughout the show to signify a vicious monster lurking backstage, which is later introduced to the audience in a death metal number.
With merely a guitar and a microphone, Tara and her rocking songs are the main star of the performance. Encapsulating the show’s aesthetic is Cousin Tara’s black and white striped jumpsuit paired with white doc martins that effectively accentuates her eclectic punk vibe, reaffirming that she is indeed the crazy, cool cousin we all wish we had.
Further adding to the comedic timing of certain songs are the little costuming additions such as the koala head and bridal-like veil made of fishing net, which aids in getting the audience to invest further into the stories told and the comedy of it all.
Similarly, the additional use of a few voice overs and sound effects truly enhances the comedic timing, assisting Tara to drive home the punchlines on a few key moments. Most notable is the repeated voiceover about ‘not RSVP-ing’, symbolising the mocking ‘I told you so’ voice in your head that everyone has experienced when things don’t quite plan out because you didn’t listen to it.
Despite the staging of the show being relatively simplistic, it certainly does not hinder the captivating and welcoming nature of Cousin Tara’s performance style. From the moment the audience walks into the room, Tara is an inviting presence literally asking the audience to clap along and be her friend. Her stories feel deeply personal, are incredibly relatable and often have you laughing non-stop.
One of my favourite moments is when Tara puts on sunglasses to become that one uncle whose retort to the threat of global warming is ‘she’ll be right’ and who constantly complains about the ‘PC lefties’ being too uptight and aggressive about political issues. In one way or another we have all come across one of these ‘straight white men’ of the ‘silent majority’ and the fact that Tara turned them into a song makes the joke all the more entertaining.
Tara’s punchy songs and witty lyrics never fail to deliver their message in an engaging way, especially the ballad to the plastic soy sauce fish that pollute the waterways and the song about a platypus that inhaled a concoction of drugs from the bottom of a waterway.
The cosiness of The Butterfly Club only enhances the creation of a welcoming environment and sense of connectedness to Tara throughout the performance. It truly is the perfect venue for such a wonderful, charming show about the wukkas of the world.
Wukkas makes you think, feel, and laugh all your wukkas away, which is no mean feat for Cousin Tara to achieve in a single performance. I highly recommend grabbing your tickets to this entertaining cabaret open until this Sunday night at The Butterfly Club!