Venue: Tandanya, 253 Grenfrell Street, Adelaide
The search for Adelaide’s funniest Nungas returned for its fifth year in the South Australian heats of this national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Comedy Competition.
Hosted by the very funny Kevin Kropinyeri, Deadly Funny featured six up-and-coming indigenous comedians who have participated in professionally facilitated comedy workshops to develop their material into a stand-up performance.
As an initiative of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the state finalists compete for the national title in Melbourne during the April Festival.
Kropinyeri introduced the night with a definition of ‘deadly’, meaning radical, awesome, wicked, cool… not the kind of deadly you associate with a snake bite. He introduced each act with comedy routines of his own, and proved himself as proficient a dancer and impersonator as he is a comedian.
2010 National Finalist Josh W competed first, complete with eye-patch as he recovers from an illness. Not to be held back, he used the patch to his advantage, adding material to his examination of mobile phones and secrecy. His comparison between the traditional chicken dance and the blackfella’s version was particularly memorable.
Natasha W struggled with nerves but elicited laughs with her life story of cats and TV, growing up in Elizabeth West and some of the complications of mixed marriages.
Coming in third for the night, Torres Strait Islander Eddie P sported cool a white hat as he regaled in tales of Island life compared to a big city, and put his own Islander lyrics to Old McDonald had a Farm.
The star of the night, although coming second in the competition, was Belinda Z, a mother of five making her stage debut. Her feisty attitude and abundant energy showed an enormous confidence for someone new to the scene. Her yarns of breast feeding, movies, body image and spiders were delivered with fantastic comic timing.
John P was the 2009 State Finalist and tickled the funny bone with the problems of racism and getting older, but it was his finale that proved to be one of the highlights of the night with a fantastic musical interpretation of hitch-hiking on the highway, told through playing a didgeridoo.
The final act for the evening, and first place finalist for the competition was Warren M, an animated storyteller who was also the Runner Up winner of the 2008 National Finals. His cheeky exploration of what happens when we die led into discussing medical treatments and house parties but he hit the nail on the head with the modern Aboriginal icon of a mattress on the lounge room floor.
The evening as a whole was as diverse in talent as it was in content, held together by the incomparable Kevin Kropinyeri. It was a night of great laughs supporting our next generation of comedians, making the audience winners too.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.