Kellie Higgins and Fiona Della Ca (or ‘Kelfi and Fikel’) begin their cabaret debut by telling the audience that they’ve been best friends since high school.
To be honest, they probably don’t need to. Their comfort and ease in working together could only be the result of years of growing up and mucking around together.
The show is essentially a collection of original, quirky and often irreverent sketches and songs, performed with Higgins on the piano. The songs are great, as funny as they are tuneful, covering topics from an abusive relationship that keeps you coming back for more to the more intimate aspects of female anatomy. In one ingenious song, they discuss those moments where you become an ‘accidental asshole’ through social faux pas. Both have great voices that blend in impossibly tight harmonies throughout, but what’s really impressive is their comedic timing and characterisation.
The sketches are all hilarious, clearly inspired by a long lineage of BBC shows, from Monty Python to French and Saunders and Catherine Tate. They both play an incredible range of characters, with Della Ca appearing to be the stronger comedienne and Higgins the stronger actress. They know how to structure a scene and win the laughs, capturing every character perfectly, from early 20th Century English socialites to a macho Kangaroo and Koala who appear to be just a little insecure within their masculinity.
If anything is missing, it would be a more obvious thread that ties the whole cabaret together. It’s a fairly mixed assortment of songs and scenes that are all strong, but could benefit from a little more structure. At one point, the duo randomly break into some hilariously hideous dance moves and then joke “that was for the dance agents.” The show does, at times, feel a little like a showcase of exactly how much both can do, but if you’re willing to go along for the ride, there’s plenty of fun to be had, which well and truly makes up for any shortcomings.
While the dynamic between the two is spot on, it seems they’re still finding their way in front of the cabaret audiences. It’s very much a show that feels like it’s still evolving, and that’s to be expected in their first show as a duo with all original material.
But there’s such a ridiculous amount of comedic and musical talent on display, that if a few creases are ironed out before their upcoming season at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Kelfi and Fikel could become one of Australia’s most exciting and innovative cabaret acts. Definitely a pair to keep your eye on.