Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: My Kitchen Fools

Four celebrity chefs, eight hopeless contestants, and a cast of other characters poke fun at reality TV and, in particular, cooking competition shows.

Presented by Matt Byrne Media
Reviewed 16 February 2017

Cooking and reality TV shows have become more common than the contestants, to the point that it has almost become a badge of honour to be able to truthfully confess you don’t watch them.

Thankfully, there are few jokes in Matt Byrne Media’s farcical take on cooking shows that require you to know the source material. He dishes up a recipe of laughs mixed with quite a few moments of stepping over the boundaries of good taste. Overall however, it’s a deliciously funny night out.

Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramraid (Matt Byrne) is joined by fellow Celebrity Chefs Nigella’s Awesome (Niki Martin), Rachel Rayban (Stefanie Rossi) and Jamie Bolivar (Marc Clement) on the TV show, My Kitchen Fools.

Like all of MBM’s Fringe entries for the past 20 years, four talented actors take on a full cast of characters, this time from the chefs to the contestants and a range of other related personalities. Some are a lot of fun, like competitors Costa and his yia-yia, and fellow competitors, Moonbeam and Big Daddy. Others are not so successful, like the painfully outdated stereotype of a camp Scottish gay couple. Of the four performers, character actors Clement and Rossi shine in particular, the former also being an excellent impersonator.

Byrne’s script is full of puerile jokes, witty puns, tasteless humour and a couple of songs (with music by Paul Sinkinson and simple but good choreography by Sarah Williams). Not everything works, but it is this mish-mash of comedy that makes it so much fun. A little snip here and there wouldn’t go astray however.

Two and half hours is a bit long for such a show (and longer than advertised in the Fringe Guide) but Byrne also directs, and he has managed to keep the character changes super-fast and the action moving along at a decent pace.

There’s some audience participation and some taste testing involved. If you have food allergies, diabetes or an alcohol addiction, don’t sit in the front row because these issues aren’t checked before the audience members are dragged into it. Likewise, check disabled access when booking if it’s required, as the venue is upstairs and I don’t recall seeing an elevator.

Despite being hit-and-miss at times, My Kitchen Fools is an enjoyable feast with an energetic cast. As one of the lengthier Fringe shows that is playing out of the city, make it your whole night’s entertainment.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 5:  3

Venue:  Maxim’s Wine Bar, upstairs at 194a The Parade, Norwood
Season:  14 February – 19 March 2017
Duration:  2.5 hours
Tickets:  $25-$28
Bookings:  FringeTix

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