Dunstan Playhouse, Sat 28 Oct
Amidst all the music, theatre, dance and other excellent activities that make up the OzAsia festival, a night of stand-up comedy featuring Asian Australian comedians is becoming a popular festival feature.
People arriving early for tonight’s performance are treated to some lively swing jazz from Trio Sepia. They then help shape the evening by staying on to provide each act with a musical intro. They also venture into some audience participation by improvising ditties about audience members at the behest of the MC.
Sami Shah is an excellent choice as MC, his material being as fresh as his flight from Melbourne this afternoon, and his frustration at inappropriate levels of airport security. But he seems to be very happy to be back in Adelaide and his rapport with the band and the other performers is evident.
Jenny Tian is first comedian off the rank, and her material does not disappoint. Some great one-liners about the confusion caused to people by her Chinese face and very “ocker” voice. Best dressed comedian for the night AJ Lamarque gives us some handy tips about ‘cruising’, which opens the way for Sashi Perera, who had apparently been worried that her material would be a little risqué for the City of Churches. After telling us about her time in Cairo she takes her cue from AJ and heads into more sexualised material.
Leela Varghese from local comedy duo The Coconuts is the other musical act of the evening, with guitar in hand, singing children’s songs about colours including being brown and proud. This makes me keen to hear more from The Coconuts.
Local comedian Jason Chong gives a very assured performance. After telling us a little about his family, whom he has seemingly not told he was working tonight, telling them only that he was ‘ducking out for a packet of fags’, he then steals the show by performing a song, with actions, for hearing impaired people.
Patrick Golamco is the surprise for me, delivering a deadpan self-deprecating routine which has me in stitches. Suren Jayemanne, after giving us a very funny but Melbourne-centric overview of the gentrification taking place in his suburb, ventures into a routine about having a rescue dog with ‘triggers’. He seems to be momentarily thrown when a member of the audience veers the conversation to be about cats! We are clearly living in the moment!
Jennifer Wong, last year’s MC, has a funny tale about performing karaoke in her childhood, her usual aplomb with the audience dimmed just slightly by her reading her routine from her phone. Michael Hing regales us with an extended but hilarious tale about being hired for an Irish Catholic fundraiser, made to dress as a leprechaun, and tell Irish jokes to an Irish audience. Somehow, he laments, this remains his most successful gig ever.
The high standard of comedy on show tonight suggests that this will deservedly become a popular feature of OzAsia Festival. Long may it continue!