Fringe Review – Comedy

Laughter is the best medicine so I took myself out for a double dosage. In the last days of the Fringe I saw Arielle Conversi and her show Problem Child followed by Ivan Aristeguieta’s Matador in the one night.

What was great about seeing these two shows back to back was the contrast they created. Both shows explored growing up in their own parts of the world. For Ivan it was in Venezuela for Arielle it was in Florida in the United States.

Arielle painted us a picture of a fairly suburban life in a Florida town made famous for being the home of Hulk Hogan. She was a Jewish Goth frustrated, angry and lashing out. Her childhood was full of moments where she let her anger take control and with predictable results. This was all fun and games until she found herself left for two days in juvenile detention where she realised this was no longer the path for her.

Stand up is no way near an easy gig and when yourself in a small hotel room that fills about 40, talking to a third of that in the room it’s even harder. But you can take advantage of this setting to tell stories. It’s intimate, closed and perfect for a good yarn. Arielle had loads of yarns but it didn’t take long to get the feeling I was not watching a comedy show but someone just telling me engaging stories.

And that is what Arielle’s strength was, she is an engaging storyteller and her stories are worth listening to. Teenage angst and turning that around work perfectly in this Fringe environment, I just felt she was being safe when it came to comedy part of it.

So I wandered from The Producers Hotel to the Garden of Unearthly Delights where I found Ivan and his intellectual battles with our first world problems.

Ivan’s comedy not only contrasted Arielle by its mere content but also by the way he in which he delivered it. Ivan grew up in a South American country mired in violence and oppression. He wanted to be a Matador but could not grapple with the killing of bulls. His story then moved to now living with a vegetarian in Melbourne.

What really stood out for me was how easy it was for Ivan to turn his experiences to the mocking our first world problems. He tackled veganism, finding the perfect coffee and living in a politically correct world.

He was loud, vivacious and unafraid to poke fun at our privilege. It was a stark contrast to Arielle who took a very safe road through her comedic journey.