Review: Aunty Donna29 March 2016
It’s easy to think of Aunty Donna as ‘our Melbourne boys’, ‘up-and-coming’, ‘kings of the underground’. Coming off tours of Adelaide, Brisbane, pilots being made for the ABC, a partnership with Screen Australia for a YouTube mini-series and a new Comedy Central Australia show in the making, it seems Aunty Donna are well and truly here. If their 2016 live show is any indication, the boys aren’t showing any signs of stopping.
On any other day, tell me that I’ll be watching an hour of Australian sketch comedy and you’ll catch me in the fetal position, murmuring something about Open Slather. Yet Aunty Donna have this constant energy. There are no breaks, no time to think. Sketch after sketch seamlessly transition without ever slowing down and by the time the “intermission” (which, again, isn’t even an intermission if you were hoping for any sort of calm or order) comes around it honestly feels like it’s been five minutes. This isn’t a negative at all though. You get enraptured by the boys, swept up in a way where you forget time passes.
Aunty Donna’s greatest strength is making you think that they’re idiots. The boys don’t need cerebral humour to make themselves seem smart. They’re so smart they make you think they’re dumb. Sketches like “Stepdad Steve”, “Pausey Pete” or even just “Cordial”. They lull you into this state where whatever sketch you’re seeing is the stupidest, most surreal thing you’ve ever seen only for it to be turned around on it’s head. Constantly shifting and playing on your expectations.
The best way to describe their style is like playing with your friends in the playground at lunchtime. Making up these fantastic situations – I have fire powers but am also the king of Switzerland kind of thing – only for it to snowball out of control. The best times are when character is broken and the boys are just laughing at where the show’s ended up. That’s Aunty Donna. It’s like dicking about with your mates. Yet you leave with a sense of completeness that shouldn’t be achieved with such a disjointed chaotic hour. I don’t even have time to talk about their dancing or amazing facial expressions the improv. is just endless fun. They aren’t the future of Australian comedy. They’re the now. So get around them.
Aunty Donna are performing for the Melbourne Comedy Festival at Roxanne, Max Watt’s and the Melbourne Town Hall between March 24th and April 15th. Get tickets here.
Check out one of their online sketches, “Touchy Feely Co-Worker”