Witty and winning
By Myron My
It’s a weird show for weird people, or that’s what Sarah Jones tells the audience during Creepy Dummy, which is presented as part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Jones is a ventriloquist and through the course of the evening she is joined by a number of special “guests”, and together we try to determine why ventriloquist dummies / dolls have received such a bad rap, and for people who have seen Annabelle or Magic, it’s not hard to tell why.
Jones explains how people often declare how creepy puppets are or expressing their automatonophobia (fear of ventriloquist’s dummies) whenever she reveals her profession to them. In order to dispel this fear, Jones shares some interesting stories and facts regarding ventriloquism and dolls through stand-up, shadow play and of course puppets.
What is particularly enjoyable about Creepy Dummy is that, despite the topic, the show cleverly remains light-hearted. It gets to the point where you begin to understand that nothing is creepy unless you let it be, and this includes a range of fears that are touched on, such as dummies, ghosts, spiders and even babies.
Jones’ relaxed nature and structuring of the performance allows for her interactions with the audience to be friendly and playful. Even when certain interactions don’t go according to plan, as happened on the night I attended, Jones does not skip a beat and happily accepts the curve ball and continues on with the show. However, the final, pivotal minutes of the show could do with a little fine-tuning to ensure it ends on the high that has been maintained throughout.
There are plenty of laughs to be had with Creepy Dummy but meeting Jones’ Aunt Catherine is definitely worth the ticket price alone. While the show might not have you loving puppets and dummies, it will definitely give you the courage to go back for second helpings of this highly talented and funny ventriloquist.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: until 10 April | until 2 April 8.30pm, 3 – 6 April 5:30pm, 10 April 7pm
Length: 55 minutes
Tickets: $32.30 Full | $28.30 Conc
Bookings: MICF website