Review: Kit Richard’s Scandal: The Musical! (Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 28th March 2021)

8 April 2021

On the way to Carlton’s magnificent and massive Trades Hall, I decided to follow Google Maps. A dumb move considering it’s on the corner of Lygon and Victoria and therefore not difficult to find for someone who’s lived close to the city for nearly three years now. But somehow I do get lost trying to find the stage. Thankfully, the band for Kit Richard’s Scandal! The Musical, made up of local Melbourne musicians and comedians Elly Hewitt, Kelly Dingeldei and Dom Buckham, were playing a loop of “You Should Be All Night Long” until the seats filled in. Much appreciated, guys. 

Kit walks across the stage tentatively, wrapped in black and red, the colours of her beloved boys, the Essendon bombers, confused as to the presence of the band. We gradually learn that the three snarky strangers are manifestations of her subconscious, and they’re here to help her process a great trauma: the Essendon doping scandal. So, “just like in a Muppet’s Christmas Carol!”, Kit is led by her guides through the saga and why it has hurt her so, except the medium for exploration here is Australian pub rock. 

All the songs are original, hilarious and so damn catchy. I fear I missed a lot of the lyrical genius due to simply not hearing the words (or not knowing anything about the Essendon Football Club), but everything I did hear was legitimately amazing. From songs about the “darkest day in Australian sporting history”, to how Julia Gillard has it out for her boys, or a bible comparison to Jove Watson, there is something for everyone to laugh with and you definitely don’t need to be a footy fan to enjoy it. The two ladies cacking themselves behind me for the whole show I think captured the sentiment quite nicely. It’s sort of absurd, but it just works. 

Like a true fan, Kit loyally defends her team against the mounting evidence, and is not really interested in her spirit guides appeals to rationality. They suspect something more must be going on – otherwise why write a musical about an AFL team taking performance enhancers? It is eventually revealed that like the Bombers have let her down, Kit has been let down by many of the men in her life. She doesn’t understand why her Dad has set such unrealistic standards. But this conflict comes to a resolution when her guides remind her that she doesn’t need to worry: her Dad setting the bar so high means that one day she’ll find the right love and be able to accept it. It’s a genuinely sweet moment. 

Kit’s style of humour appeals to my own extremely well. Quirky, with lots of wordplay and trying things out just for the fun of trying them. Who thinks to themselves, “I’m going to explore my pain over being left by men into a musical about the Essendon doping scandal?”. A comedic genius that’s who. 

The band all bring their own individual humour to the performance and it is such a great inclusion. If at first I thought a talking band would be strange I was very wrong. And Kit’s performance is just so great. This is clearly her show which she has built from her own unique style, taste and humour. So much has been poured into it and it shows. I loved it.

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