After eight years of entertaining Adelaide fringers, the Eurowision extravaganza has finally arrived at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Yes, Eurowision. With a W. Try saying it – it even sounds awesome.
Australia has such a peculiar obsession with the daggy European song contest that it’s ripe for a parody, and in Eurowision the writers have hit the perfect sweet spot between an affection emulation and farce.
The intro explains that hosting the contest became too expensive for the European nations, so they started sending their worst acts to avoid winning. Then they discovered a desperate nation that would do anything to be included, so now it’s being held in Australia…
The hosts are cabaret singer and model Carla Conlin as Heidi (from Lichtenstein) plus comedian Angus Hodge as Kristoff, the host of Grand Designs Belarus. The styling, the hair, the big smiles and corny winks to camera are all faultless fakes, as is the glitzy opening dance number, complete with flags and glitter.
In the surreal way that mimics Eurovision ideally, each nation is introduced by comic actor Mark Trenwith performing a short interpretive dance, which becomes a separate running joke as his callistenics-style props decline from glitter ribbons to random empty boxes and electrical cables.
The acts comprise different MICF performers adopting a nation of choice or relevance. Some follow the format and perform a song, while others just do their own thing.
Dance queen Kaitlyn Rogers (UK) wins the crowd by reproducing her nightclub dance routine with guys from the audience standing in for her “Sculthorpe Girls”, while eccentric Norwegian clown Viggo pick one silly skit and works it brilliantly until the audience reaches peak hysteria.
The underlying international tensions were reproduced faithfully too, with the furrily raunchy Russian team, led by Anya Anastasia, abducting Marcus Ryan (Ukraine) as he sang his ode to mother Russia: I Want to Break Free.
Other acts include The Fringe Wives Club (USA), whose cutesy glitter and bluegrass music belies the savage feminism of their lyrics; subtle talent Diana Nguyen, who ended up representing the WHOLE of Asia, and Tash York, whose skit on food and dieting was perfect for representating Hungary.
Carousel Pony Productions presents
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall | 100 Swanston St Melbourne VIC
Dates: 13 April 2019
Tickets: $25 – $29