Saturday 31 March 2018

G'Day Comrade - Comedy Review

What: G'day Comrade
When: 28 - 31 March 2018
Where: Imperial Hotel
Performed by: Gosha Bodryi, Kaychu, Kirill Sietlov, and Gleb Tubushev

Russia is big news at the moment so needless to say there is a lot of great material for expatriated comedians to play around with and I was thrilled to see a show celebrating the old and the new in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year. Whilst the G'day Comrade comedians provided less Dostoyevski than advertised, there was just enough Putinesque paranoia to make this a night at Imperial Hotel full of belly laughs and merriment.

Compare Brodryi got the laughs started and kept the show moving along nicely. All of the comedians are young and developing talents but what they lack in confidence they more than make up for with that beautiful Russian air of danger and intrigue.

Tubushev kicked off the routines with the need to explain why he has a very North American accent. He was almost apologising for not being authentic Russian despite having spent the first 15 years of his life there. His story of immigration is warm and intelligent and his tale of plane drivers (known to most of us as pilots) brought me to tears of laughter as I started imagining my own impending small plane trip to regional Australia.

For me Kaychu was the big hit of the evening. A raw comedy finalist, Kaychu had me in gales of laughter as she looked in wonder at how well we treat our children and how confusing she finds it as a Russian. I was an easy mark though, because she begins at the point of despair over the length of holidays and how this means she has to spend time with her kids. "It's as if you like your children," she muses. I remember as a kid hating the Chirstmas holidays because they were so long. Who wants to spend that much time with the family when you're 10?

Sietlov was the only current Russian resident and professional comedian and it was interesting to see a real, if subtle nervousness when he riffed off an earlier Putin joke. Yes, we are on the opposite end of the planet but it was an intriguing reminder that the danger is very real. Some of Sietlov's humour didn't quite sit well with an Australian audience - in particular his extended AIDS sequence - but for the most part he was extremely funny.

G'day Comrades is a fun night and I really enjoy the Russian aesthetic. The Russian Film Festival is always one of my favourites and who doesn't get off on the melancholia of Chekhov every now and then? They even have Russian language shows scheduled at Speakeasy HQ. 

3 Stars

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