By James Ong
Zoe Sitas: With Two Dots is a varied and frenetic comedy show that offers plenty of laughs and some deeply relatable storytelling. Making her Sydney Comedy Festival debut, Zoe aims to narrate key formative moments that have led to the energetic young comedian we see today.
Fair warning that many will certainly find this an odd show; what I initially saw as overly energetic riffing slowly revealed itself as a reflection of a woman on her path to self-actualisation. As the audience became accustomed to her unique wavelength, her spirited fizz and bang became a refreshing change from a lot of the stand-up we see in today’s landscape. It’s through this lens that Sitas tells her personal stories and sketches, illustrating her Cypriote/South African immigrant family and her experiences on the road into adulthood.
The one-hour show, saw quite a subtle management of themes. Topics progress from standard school-age worries, through her opinion of global social issues into her personal development into a self-proclaimed ‘baby-dyke’. As these topics progress so too does her approach to the comedy. Simple and effective slapstick and impressions develop slightly darker edges as we enter her teens and early 20s. Here, in the pairing of childhood imagery with some more adult concepts, is where I see Zoe’s personal comedic brand developing as she establishes herself in the industry. Sporadic inclusions of sketches help drive this niche. Sitas showed some committed character work through these moments – particularly in her portrayal of a Saffa gym teacher explaining the history of Apartheid with dodgeballs. Another memorable moment came in a recreation of the Flashdance finale, reworked to the tune of her sexual awakening as a Lesbian woman. These (along with a slew of other skits) were odd, yet brilliant successes.
Sounds cues were selectively used throughout the show to help accentuate her cartoonish demeanour and vary the punchlines. Though they helped diversify the offering, these punchlines were the least effective and could have used a little more rehearsal time. That being said, they did help establish a unique tone to her comedy, even if the content drew upon tired themes at times.
Zoe Sitas: With Two Dots is a strong outing from this emerging comedian and leaves me keen to see what she pulls together next. It’s hard not to see a bright future for a performer when you’re presented with a jazz ballet dance sequence that ends with a tutu doused with water. It really is an odd show. An odd show that made me smile from beginning to end.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.