Acropolis Now, launched the famous character – (Efthimia) Francesca “Effie” Stefanidis, played by Mary Coustas. The good news is – Effie is alive and kicking, unsullied, inventive and full of vernacular impropriety.
In Effie – the Virgin Bride, Coustas is at the top of her game, giving us a character that is downright superficial, harebrained, and narcissistic, yet utterly likable. The Greek diva may have become hugely popular during the run of the TV series, but she’s endured to deliver an incisive, all-embracing, and proficiently performed one woman show crammed with malapropisms, low-brow humour and a slice of satirical gravitas.
Packed with enthused absurdity, inanity, and quotable lines, this isn't the most consistent comedy on the stage, but Coustas’ steadfast and clownish performance helps keep this portrait of a second generation Greek girl from going off the rails. Indeed, her animated dynamism takes it beyond caricature and into an incredibly silly yet often hilarious, satire that tackles what it means to be a new Australian with Mediterranean heredity. Of course, some of the material works, some doesn't. But our heroine takes a yarn and runs with it – sometimes arguably too far, but usually just far enough to wear down the audience that it doesn’t care that it has no real plot but boasts laugh-out-loud moments almost as large as Effie’s wig.
The show opens with a video of Effie’s dream in which she imitates James Blunt, but instead of saying goodbye to her lover, she sings “Goodbye my Hymen,” as she loses her cherry. “Youse” all get the pun and the level of the show from the opening. Then Effie enters the stage and announces she is getting married to a Skip named Shane. But, the wedding comes with a clause – although Effie is a virgin, she has an immaculately conceived daughter, named, Aphrodite.
From her pre-wedding salon, Effie recalls that she kissed many wogs before she found her prince, and she dated quite a few douche-bags before meeting Mr Right. Shane Bradley Cooper, is every girl’s dream, he is not only a doctor but he is also a plastic surgeon. What is a successful Skip doing with a boof-head Grecian with sharp-tongue and familial ties that go back to the cradle of civilization? The reason is plain, he has adored the Greek goddess for over thirty years – ever since their first schoolyard kiss.
What follows if a blow-by-blow account of a Greek life in Australia including her mother spending her whole life trying to find a husband and disapproving of every one, except for Shane, of course.
Effie the Virgin Bride is funny in parts. But some of the material is as structurally weak as the Greek economy and about as funny as the global financial crisis that created the debt. Yet, through it all, Effie is entertaining, effervescent, vivacious and as chirpy as song-bird. In short, the show is a good old laugh-a-long, with dated material, and a fine actress who knows her stuff.
Adelaide Festival Centre in association with Frontier Comedy presents
EFFIE THE VIRGIN BRIDE
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide SA
Dates: 21 – 22 June 2017
Tickets: $66.90 – $46.90
Bookings: BASS 131 246 | bass.net.au
Part of the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival