REVIEW: Liars & Clowns — An Adelaide Fringe Comedy Show
Words by Lauren Shallow
A ‘revolving door’ of various fringe comics…no two shows will be alike.
Liars & Clowns is a late-night comedy special pitched as a ‘revolving door,’ of various fringe comics, each show boasting a different bill. The show is hosted in an upstairs room of The Producers Bar on Grenfell Street. Naturally, after a week of unpredictable Adelaide weather, the Friday night was warm, the venue small and intimate, yet this only added to many performances. The show was opened by host and presenter, Kyle Dolan who immediately began impressions that were aimed to not only entertain the audience but his fellow comics, creating an atmosphere that welcomed you into the joke and disarmed the crowd.
Immediately, Jacob Jackman struts on stage and cracks one liners that involve anything from his dog to society to his own sexuality. He notes the age differences between rows and starts up banter with an older man sitting in the front, joking not at the man’s expense or even his own; he’s just funny and knows how to poke at the right crude innuendo. Jackman also presents a Christopher Walken joke, mirroring Dolan’s earlier and does so to make the presenter laugh, yet succeeds in amusing the entire audience. That alone is a reflection of what Liars & Clowns offers, an array of people capable of being funny in any situation while bouncing off one another. The show feels like a hidden gem you’ve been fortunate enough to discover.
Ange Lavoipierre proclaims that being stuck inside has eroded her social skills. A truth which is painfully relatable and surrounds her set with the ongoing gag that she can’t quite figure out how to leave a conversation anymore. She draws in funny anecdotes about a mum who is impossible to get off the phone because the dog has lumps (spoiler: the dog is fine; the lump is his nose.) The audience laughs along easily at her everyday pains; we allow her stories to ease whatever tired us during the working day. Act 3 is the half-time show. Ellis Dolan and Jemma Allen make this apparent by handing out lemon sherbets with tongs like enthusiastic soccer mums, who can’t offer orange slices, because they’re simply not as Covid safe. They begin a series of sketches about pathological liars, winking at the audience; Allen in particular conjures up laughs as she bares a shoulder hinting at imitating a burlesque performance and then proceeds to eat an impressive amount of dry Saladas stony-faced.
Cedar-Rosie Russell has a delightful Phoebe Waller-Bridge air about her, knowing grin, sex talk and all. She tells us about her decision to become a life model instead of a barista, brandishing a poster of herself nude as a gift (or perhaps threat) to the lucky audience member she chooses to offer it to. That lucky person was me, and I’m still not entirely sure whether I’m biased because I now have a charcoal of her, but Russell had me earnestly giggling and clapping even as she told the crowd not to applaud.
Blake Everett and Oliver Coleman may perform as a comedic duo during the fringe, but tonight their sets are separate and delightfully different. Everett wears shorts and a simple shirt, nowhere to hide props you would think? Yet he manages to pull a mandarin out in the place of the Chinese language accompanied by a miniature hand that rounds out the performance neatly causing everyone to laugh audibly with surprise. Coleman enters the stage with obvious energy and follows through by shouting about the pains of being banned from Woolies after a tantrum, because Arnott’s family packs just aren’t up to par. His jokes ranged from immediate to thought-through with references to classical music and the life span of comedy, but this existentialism was a light-hearted and extremely funny conclusion to the hour-long show.
I was sitting front and centre, and fearful of being singled out, and while the eye contact was frequent, the acts didn’t rely on picking apart the people in front of them. Any interactions were comfortable, a plus for anyone who’s worst nightmare is being spotlighted in a crowd. The comics made it known that many of their sets wouldn’t be exactly replicated in their own numerous Fringe shows, and they likely wouldn’t make another appearance at Liars & Clowns. However, this didn’t take away from the night but instead raised my curiosity — what would a different night be like in that tiny room? What new material would their own sets contain?
Overall, I would highly recommend bringing your friends along to see Liars & Clowns, the tickets are well-priced at $25 to see such a variety of comedians. The changing performance bill implies that you will continually be exposed to new people, many of whom are Adelaide locals. The late slot means that you could plan to see another fringe show earlier or, like myself, wander around the strangely maze-like Nairobi Lounge and Producers Bar with a cocktail in hand.