The Basement last night played host to the opening night of Jackie van Beek and Jonny Brugh’s unique sketch-show comedy routine, Flashdunce.
Directed by Jesse Griffin, of Cadbury’s Dream Factory and 7 Days fame, this hour long stint of short skits veered from the sublime to the ridiculous and elicited much guffawing from a seemingly cult following in the audience. It would certainly not be to everyone’s taste, much like a thickly spread helping of vegemite on toast, but there were certainly funny moments and a good deal of them at that.
The show opened with van Beek and Brugh strumming some satirically off-key notes on their acoustic guitars, intertwined with a variety of random “scat-tat” and “boom-bop” utterances in the style of some bohemian musical hipster. From here the duo swooped from examination halls to “flat meetings”, via a far off Eastern European wilderness and the traumas for Ivan and Iva and their fictional horse. As I say, sublime and comically ridiculous.
Highlights of the night came in a sketch set in a Quitline office, which quickly turned in suicide avoidance with a comic twist, along with a Paraplegic Driving Stick to avoid a drink-driving charge, and a would-be travelling salesman who got himself into some gang trouble and emailed the Mongrel Mob to join.
Brugh certainly possesses the comedic timing and array of facial expressions and body movements to make him one of those people that makes you giggle just by looking at him. Van Beek provides an excellent foil, and herself has honed the potentially not-so-easy art of hypnotised dancing whilst possessed.
From poisoned cats to Hire a Hubby mishaps, this was an hour of comedy both unexpected and unhinged. There were without doubt moments of hilarity, both at the quality of the comedy and at the sheer randomness that Flashdunce exhibited, but much like anything deemed “quirky”, it certainly wouldn’t satisfy everybody’s comedic palate.
Reviewed by Sam Jeffery