Holed up in a dingy hotel with only a bucket for company, the sole comfort for sick backpackers is they know their suffering will make a funny story one day.
Alanta Colley’s job as health educator has taken her to some of the most hygiene-challenged countries in the world, supplying her with more material than most of us would care to recall.
It has also put her on first-name terms with some of the planet’s most ingenious hitch-hikers – parasites. Some she’s shared body space with, others she’s been introduced to via friends. You’re never alone when you’ve got a parasite.
Combine these experiences with a sense of humour and a gift for storytelling and you have a great basis for a comedy show.
Colley opens strongly, with some great warm-up lines, clever manipulation of medical jargon, a few political asides and some thoroughly revolting facts, figures and pictures that you somehow just can’t look away from.
Her knowledge of the subject is obvious and she reels off information, detail and occasionally uncomfortable anecdotes with quiet assurance; her daytime job teaching engineering students about international development has obviously honed her public speaking skills.
She then launches into a few longer stories, which are as worrisome as they are interesting. The show does become slightly more TED talk than comedy routine at this point, which is fine for geeks, although she seems to get a bit lost towards the end and finishes rather abruptly.
But anyone who can say “I only contracted Malaria twice” and make a joke about it has my vote.
This is possibly the most original material in this year’s comedy festival and a great debut show. The venue, Belleville, off Little Bourke Street, was also a winning find. The show only has a short run so get in quickly, although she’s also performing in the Sci Fight Science Comedy Debate at the Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, on April 20.
Venue: Belleville, Globe Alley, Melbourne
Dates: 10 – 15 April 2017
Tickets: $20 – $25