Image description: A cartoon island with a woman’s head as the land and a palm tree sticking out.
By Lachlan Serventy
I love comedy. Especially weird comedy. Stupid stuff like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! or Monty Python’s Flying Circus. There’s something so cathartic about comedy based on the most stupid premise imaginable.
Fun Times with Olive and No One Else! (henceforth FTwOaNOE, for obvious reasons) has a really stupid premise. You see our heroine Olive is a white collar millennial, who has just left her job to jet across the Pacific and open a cereal bar with her best friend. Things go awry, however, when her plane plunges into the ocean amidst a storm. Forced to make do with what she has, and with no one else on the island, she begins to find comfort in her Crusoe-esque situation. After all it’s hard out in these streets for a twentysomething with a less than enjoyable job and a not very secure future as a purveyor of boutique cereals.
Then she meets/makes a can of beans named Steve. As you can probably imagine, any scenario involving a talking can of beans will probably get a bit weird. When that can of beans develops a cocaine habit and opens a four-star B&B, things get even weirder.
FTwOaNOE is a riot. The writers behind FTwOaNOE are both UWA alumni and have been large parts of the University Dramatic Society’s community. With UDS they worked on some really funny and well done stage productions. Now they’ve started their own production company, Runaway Balloon, to bring their brand of absurd comedy to the masses.
This is their first Fringe show and it makes for a memorable debut. In the catalogue of stories about a wacky, unexpected pairing, Olive and Steve (the talking can of beans) produce a surprisingly engaging friendship. Molly Hollohan, the lead actor in FTwOaNOE, has to carry a lot of the show alone. After all, she is a castaway. Hollohan does a wonderful job. Her performance is a gem in an already brilliant production.
This show, however, would not be what it is if it wasn’t for Steve. Played alternately by Tim Gauntlett and an actual can, Steve is Olive’s straight man. While just as wacky and unexpected as the rest of the cast, Steve spends the show learning his place in the world as a sentient, charismatic can of beans. Along with Olive’s quarter life crisis, Steve’s existential angst drives the show.
It’s this kind of thing that I love. Who would’ve thought that I would be using the terms “sentient can of beans” and “existential angst” in a review about a comedy show? Not me. That’s the best part about absurd comedy. When done well, it can make the most ridiculous stories enjoyable and meaningful. And FTwOaNOE is one of the most enjoyable ridiculous stories I’ve seen in a long time. Go see it while you can
Fun Times with Olive and No One Else! is showing at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den until the 9th of February. Find more info here.
Five googly eyes out of Five
Lachlan Serventy realises how weird the amount of times he’s used “can of beans” in this review is.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival
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Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action.