Theatre Review by Lisa Romeo
What: Life Lessons with Michelle and Gemma
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
When: 11 April to 20th April
Where: ACMI Games Room
Performed by Michelle Mammana and Gemma Duncan
Directed by Karin Muiznieks
What Life Lessons can I learn? This was my question when my friend and I were given a pack of popping candy in the queue before the show. Once seated and the comedy began, I got the feeling Michelle and Gemma were slightly nervous, maybe because there was a lot of audience members in the 40+ age bracket, but it didn’t take too long at all for the duo to warm up and get the ball rolling smoothly.
This twenty something pair were a lot of fun from the very beginning. Life Lessons deals with the ever so complex questions life throws at each of us daily. Such as; have you ever consumed an entire can of sweetened condensed milk and instantly regretted it? Do you have an evil twin or a stupid twin? Should you talk to strangers in the hope that you make new friends? And of course, does everybody love making bubbles? Well who doesn’t?
Each lesson was revealed one by one on a whiteboard and all points were explained by these wise, young comedians drawing on their own extensive experiences! Theories were tested with the assistance of audience participation and together we reached thought provoking, knowledgeable conclusions to life’s difficult challenges that all of humankind faces every day.
This show was delightfully entertaining and wonderfully playful throughout. The delivery was upbeat and presented with style and without preconceptions. The two girls worked superbly and faultlessly as a team, with free flowing colloquialism.
Above all the confusion and conflict that was debated between the two, the ultimate theme of friendship was profound, even though the characters varied in their approaches to many ‘difficult’ issues. The performances were very lively and endearing and I must not forget to mention that their colour coordination was spot on.
It is obvious that the director, Karin Muiznieks, is a comedy writer and performer herself. She uses a combination of observational comedy and stand-up techniques to deliver a unique show. I asked myself; what did I take away with me? Well the fact that I too agree that spooning can only be a pre or post coital experience…it seems the age gap is not so wide after all.