Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: An Evening With JK

Fun yet intense show featuring layered comedy and social critique

Fun yet intense show featuring layered comedy and social critique

Presented by: Heartfelt Havoc

Reviewed: 12 March, 2024

An Evening With JK draws from recent events connected to a popular 90s-00s children’s author that wedges the debate around separating the art from the artist in a satirical play.

The stage is presented as a typical writers’ event or festival, like Adelaide Writers Week. There are a couple chairs angled slightly toward each other and a small table in between to give a relaxed, personal feel to the setting. It was completed with banners on either side of the seats that were peppered with jokes within the titles and labels that mirror the comedy that was shown during the production.

The show is in a one on one, intimate interview style between JK, played by Anna Piper Scott who also wrote the show, and last-minute replacement interviewer and author Matilda Quinn played by Sasha Chong.

The opening of the show is loaded with fast humour that draws from actual events and online commentary. The power dynamic between the interviewer and the famous author is swiftly established, which grants an opening for satirical contrasting and social critique. From this position, incremental steps are taken in the show that demonstrates the potential for language to grow from mild disagreement to harmful hypocrisy such as even considering a person’s right to exist as a “debate” option.

Both Scott and Chong are fantastic in their roles. Scott builds the role of JK in a manner that successfully stays true to the source materials found online while Chong’s Quinn had a simmering authenticity, in particular around the growing frustration as if attempting a discussion with a Twitter bot even though there is a real person in front of them.

An Evening With JK incorporates a lot from contemporary “debates” that are littered with traps and false equivalences that Scott’s writing steers the show directly into while using a variety of comedic techniques. There’s a playfulness still to the production that layers witty one-liners with dark satire and comedy via absurdity. Even with the comedic underscoring to the entire production it allows time for the seriousness of certain topics and the true damage such decisions and actions made by other people can cause someone, in particular already vulnerable members of our community.

The show maintains a solid framing to the discourse it centres on, even sneaking in character breaks that make nods to the different audiences that are potentially watching on. As the tension builds, this context primes the situation for a couple heart-retching moments that never completely break the tension and let it linger for impact.

An Evening with JK starring Anna Piper Scott and Sasha Chong, and directed by Margot Morales is on at The Migration Museum’s Fringe Hub through to the weekend.

Reviewed by Alex Dunkin

Photo credit: Anna Piper Scott

Venue: The Chapel at The Courtyard of Curiosities at the Migration Museum
 Until 17 March, 2024
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $22.50 – $30

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