10 April 2010

Review: A Rare Sight

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL 2010
A Rare Sight
Maeve Higgins and Nick Coyle
9 April 2010
The Black Box


I got and totally enjoyed A Rare Sight, but my fondness for quirky character-based comedy is no secret, so I can see why this show is polarising opinions.

Forget that the show has changed since the program blurb was written and that some reviewers have shown off their bagging skills; if (like me) you love shows like Donna and Damo, Monster of The Deep 3D, Kunst Rock and Dos or Duo, you may adore A Rare Sight.

Maeve Higgins and Nick Coyle are a twin brother and sister team (even more disfunctional than Die Rotten Punkte playing next door to them) who want to offer "an alternative to all the humour that is going around" and share their tips about how to live your best life and love your best love. They don't have any solid experience in love or life, but they have done some research by watching telly and have a whiteboard and some useless coms headphones to help.

Their lessons in the universal problems of finding a spouse, getting a job and finding out if an alien is in your spouse are gorgeously and absurdly funny and their performances are so endearing that it's easy to forgive what isn't working. Nevertheless, for all it's goodness and funniness, A Rare Sight hasn't found its rhythm and is missing its mark because it isn't sure where the goal post is and hasn't decided what it wants the audience to feel for these wonderfully original characters.

There are hints about these lost souls' past, but I wanted to know how they got to this point. The back story of them doing ads as kids is currently serving as a joke or two, rather than helping us understand how these odd siblings came to be giving bad lectures.  There's so much gorgeous material to be discovered (yes, I mean written) and shared that will help the audience to love and care about them and want to buy them drinks after the show.

As it's a theatre show, using more of that stuff that theatre does so well will help to bring it to life. It's still  relying too much on the written words and the performances. Both of which are vital, but a design that helps us understand where we are, more odd props and the outside eye and extra creativity of a director that will help take it to where it deserves to be.

I so hope that this isn't the end of A Rare Sight. It's just not cooked yet, but the ingredients are some of best around, so they shouldn't go to waste.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com.

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