The best concept of the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is A Visit With Nan In A Caravan. With technicolour dresses and cardigans, plastic hair rollers and wigs, the three actors from Granny Bingo bring their nylons to town in the shape of a caravan at Trades Hall.
This show is about sharing with us the highs and lows of their trip ’round Australia. They know all the great places, like Canberra, Tweed Heads or Mount Gambier, as reflected in the biggest novelty teaspoon collection in the CBD.
In 15-minute slots, five customers squeeze into the kitchenette-cabin as if we were all embarking on a getaway. The decor is legit and worth the ticket price alone, with a teatowel of Australia as tablecloth.
Commanding Edith Vale and her long-time ‘friend’ Margaret River, welcome us into their home-on-the-road and regale us with flashbacks from their adventures over the decades. There’s even room for their third wheel, Caroline Springs, whom they ‘inherited in a will’. Grumpy grannies are recognisable in her demeanour.
For anyone possessed of a nanna, and the ladies they like to hang with, you’ll recognise the overdone makeup, lipstick-smeared teeth, bad- taste footwear and easy-going charm of these little pearls of invention. Like the real ones, these ladies love a natter over a pot of tea. They tell tales of CWA cook offs, winning awards, ex-husbands, and various other misdemeanours committed across life. This show presents a pastiche of ‘Australiana’.
There’s so much to like in this exceptional one-of-a-kind show, where the audience provides the cues for their tales. Your visit breaks that ‘fourth wall’ so the lines between reality and performance get blurred. We could have been down at Rosebud at Easter chatting to our neighbours.
Grab a slot with these old bags before they pull out for their next town. You’ll walk off knowing you have just had the most unique experience to be had at MICF 2017!
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold and non-traditional performance platforms. On the street or in the box seat, she looks for quality works that push the envelope.
A Visit With Nan In A Caravan runs 30 March-23 April 2017 (no Tues/Wed) at various times (15 mins) at Trades Hall. Purchase tickets now.
The venue is not accessible.