I’ll be honest – after reading Malthouse Theatre’s description of Ich Nibber Dibber, I was still unsure what to expect from the production. But I was intrigued. The press release begins with, “imagine switching on a tape recorder and leaving it on for the next 10 years, documenting every inane conversation you’ve ever had with a close group of friends.” Also, I was more than happy to take a chance on seeing something a bit out of the ordinary with Zoë Coombs Marr’s name on the bill. Her clever, meta comedy show was a highlight at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The preshow music included the energetic hamster dance and OutKast entreating listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” It was a Wednesday night with a number of empty seats in the theatre, but there was a palpable energy in the audience.
The show opens with three actresses ‘floating’ on stage in white gowns. Designer Michael Hankin’s presentation of a levitating trio is in stark contrast to the familial exchanges between the performers. The dialog felt like the audience could be listening in on the friends’ conversations from a lounge room sofa. The conversations jump a decade in time, with cultural references sign posting the years – Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston, iPhones, Osama Bin Laden, and the legalization of gay marriage. However, the majority of the conversion is personal – covering hook-ups, childbirth, marriage, and poo… so, so many references to poo.
The three performers, Zoë Coombs Marr, Natalie Rose & Mish Grigor, lead a theatre collective named Post. It’s self-described as ‘genre-queer’ and the production’s run during the Melbourne Fringe Festival seems well timed. Its experimental nature and stripped back ascetics would easily fit in at a performing arts festival. Although, unlike fringe theatre, the tickets carry a professional theatre price tag.
I left the hour long show not entirely certain of what I’d just witnessed, but knowing I enjoyed it. Kudos to Post and Malthouse on a production that bucks traditional theatre conventions.
Jenny S. spends her time in dark theatres and dark bars.
Ich Nibber Dibber runs through 23 September 2018 at Malthouse Theatre (70 minutes). The venue is accessible.