Nicky Barry, Mayumi Nobetsu and Krissy Faye aka Lippy Women Productions are creators of and star in, their debut Melbourne Fringe comedy show, Lippy, playing at Speakeasy HQ. A show promising audiences 50 minutes of “comedy liberation”. Liberation from the legitimate “isms” that pervade society – ageism, sexism, racism and then some … undieism and pubeism.
The Melbourne Fringe Festival champions and celebrates the independent arts and encourages artistic expression and bravery. Hence, Lippy’s inclusion in this year’s programming.
Through stand-up (cum stream-of-consciousness monologues), skits, song and dance (and I use that term loosely), the women, together and individually, explore themes based on society’s unrealistic expectations – body image, values, hypocrisy, conformity and consumerism.
Barry, Nobetsu and Faye are to be applauded for their bravery in tackling such issues and their honesty in delivering the material. In particular, Nobetsu, as she discusses racism, assimilation and stereotypical behaviour, from the POV of a “super minority Japanese stand-up comedian”. As she says, “the hardest part is to be myself”. Personally, I found it more telling than hilarious.
And I did appreciate the irony in the skit involving beauticians offering their client a “make-over” with Anti-diversity White Privilege Primer and an Acceptance Rouge, guaranteed to get rid of the ugliness and replace it with a more “f***able you”.
The skit that seemed to resonate the most was the high school reunion centred around three women reeking of insincerity and one-upmanship. Barry’s character lived vicariously through the triumphs of her triplets Boston, Brooklyn & Brunswick. Faye’s was barren and single and compensated by having a bespoke handbag “stitched by blind Peruvian orphans” accessorised with a miniature dog in psychotherapy, whilst Nobetsu’s, was brandishing an ever bigger ‘IT’ bag from the Louis Vuitton 2084 range.
There were some genuinely funny lines and the routine that seemed to get the biggest laugh was from Barry explaining the alternative definition of a Pearl Necklace to her repressed Catholic mother.
Musical interludes included re-worked lyrics to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “I Like Big Butts”, Lorde’s “Royals”, a scathing attack on the current Windsors and Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You”, a dedicated anthem celebrating the “endangered Muff”. And then drove home the point with Charlene’s lament, “I’ve Never Been To Me”.
Lippy, as an adjective is an apt description for the work. The performers are bolshie. They’re not afraid to ridicule and are unapologetic.
Humour, as we know, is incredibly subjective and I felt at times it was still a work-in-progress. That said, if social commentary peppered with double entendres, visual gags and audience participation are your thing, then this Festival offering might be for you.
Lippy Women Productions presents
Venue: Speakeasy HQ | Level 2, 377 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Dates: 17 Sep – 3 Oct 2015
Tickets: $20 – $15
Part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival