PO PO MO CO’s latest production is as queer and as comic as ever.
By Joana Simmons
Extremely smart and wonderfully silly is the expression that comes to mind when describing the theatrical delight that is PO PO MO CO’s (Post Post Modern Comedy) Leigh Bowery inspired Second Birthday Show. It’s easy to see why, since its birth at the back of Hares and Hyenas two years ago, this company’s genius brand of queer neo-vaudeville comedy has been snapping up nominations and awards all over the place.
The back of the bookstore-cum-performance venue that is Hares and Hyenas is the perfect setting for this quirky, immersive event with performers roaming around in character from the moment the doors open. We meet an eastern European couple, Baba and husband Ganoush who have a bunch of artists in their receptacle that they are turning into performance artists. That’s the thread from one sketch to another, and it’s all we need as each sketch is marked by its own individual brilliance. Stand-out moments include the giant conception to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and a hilariously tragic look at climate change. Also to be noted is guest performer – Selena Jenkins and her stunning rendition of two songs by Ke$ha – mixing-up the tone of the evening and giving a full experience.
The production was tight and slick, the soundtrack got the audience going and cues were snappy. The costumes – mostly unitards, redesigned duvet covers, and wonderfully camp combinations – added to the absurdity. Lighting in this simple venue was tasteful and provided contrast where needed. The comical PO PO MO CO crew, directed by award-winning vaudevillian and comic genius Liz Skitch includes the talented Kimberley Twiner, Lily Fish, Precious Cargo, David Maney, Claire Sullivan, Anna Lehmann Thomson, Amaya Vecellio and Hallie Goodman.
Skitch has done a top-notch job at creating work that pushes buttons and tickles funny bones whilst packing a punch at the same time. The only lull in the show was after some fantastic audience participation to dress the Leigh Bowery mannequins (what fun!). Its ending and subsequent transition to the next sketch was somewhat clunky. Still, grotesque glamour, tactful truths and queer comedy are laid out for fine-viewing pleasure.
One thing that I love about theatre is how creatives are given a chance to say something. Sometimes I feel this position of power is abused and the work can be self-indulgent, however PO PO MO CO are the complete opposite of this. What they do is so clever, it’s not until the end that we realise how that sketch proves a point. Second Birthday Show presented by Midsumma Festival 2018 is a sweet, social commentary that gets under the skin but feels oh so good. Start your February the fabulously funny way and get a ticket today.
Dates: 1 – 3 Febuary
Venue: Hares and Hyenas, 63 Johnston St, Fitzroy
Prices: $15 – $20