Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2011 Presented by: Higginbotham and Adam McKenzieVenue: Victoria Hotel Friday, 1 April, 2011 Tegan Higginbotham and Adam McKenzie are two thirds of The Hounds, who have previously delivered such comedy treats as The Last Bucket Of Water and Every Film Every Made. It’s a little unnerving to see them performing without Rob Lloyd under yet another Sherlock Holmes-derived name, as it hopefully doesn’t imply The Hounds are no more.
That said, The Super Secret Awesome Show continues The Hounds’ proud tradition of low-tech, high-concept comedy – and it’s a cracker. While on a trip to Parliament House, the duo accidentally find Australia’s diary – full of all the country’s secrets dating back to Federation (including “China and Finland are definitely lesbians”). Now they know too much, and are on the run from shadowy government forces. They have gathered the audience to teach them survival skills, and to share the diary’s biggest secret – only if everyone knows will any of us be safe.
The Super Secret Awesome Show is effectively the world’s first self-referential-paranoid-conspiracy-thriller-pantomime. It’s very funny, full of pop-culture references and it barrels along. The show not only acknowledges the traditions of the paranoid thriller (on the way to the ill-fated Canberra gig, McKenzie casually mentions he’s just got married that afternoon and his wife had a baby five minutes ago) but also fits in real-life conspiracy favourites like the 1966 Westall UFO sighting. There’s also a terrible Yoda impersonation and a very clever Sopranos joke I only got on the tram ride home – which is a shame, as it’s very funny.
As with Every Film Ever Made there’s inventive use of everyday objects – a couple of torches recreate a cinematic chase scene, for example. And points must also be given for what is surely the best poster of the festival (with special commendation to Denise Scott’s Regrets). There’s a great use of the bunker-like space within the Victoria Hotel and a very effective end.
This show may be secret, but it’s definitely a bit awesome.
Until 24 April