Melbourne Fringe 2012

Lime Champions’ Nightmare Tales

0 Comments 30 September 2012

Lime Champions, the weekly radio sketch show, has at last ventured beyond the walls of the 3RRR studio to give us Nightmare Tales, an hour of very bizarre sketch comedy. Comedians Damien Lawlor, Josh Earl and Kirsten Law star in this self-described “comedy show about modern life – that is, if your life is one of confusion, miscommunication, isolation, paranoia, helplessness and failure.”

In five distinct sketches that range from the surprising to the downright absurd, Nightmare Tales does well to avoid the sketch comedy trap of a disjointed performance, utilising several clever devices to unify the hour’s hilarity. An omnipresent voiceover (think Vincent Price in Michael Jackson’s Thriller) links the sketches that might otherwise feel segmented, while getting a few laughs on its own merits. Recurring devices like miscommunication between characters are, rather than repetitive, effective in tying the different threads of the performance together. Disappointingly, several references made to the “script” seem significant at the time, but don’t come to much, which feels like a wasted opportunity for the show to become more self-referential.

Nightmare Tales makes the most of all three comedians. They particularly shine in the final skit of the night, which is the most theatrical, melodramatic and, if last night’s audience was any indication, laugh-out-loud funny of the entire performance. It’s also an education: who knew there were so many alternative expressions for defecation?

The originality and inventiveness of its sketches is the greatest strength of Nightmare Tales. With that in mind, the opening sketch is probably the weakest; while initially amusing for its ridiculousness, the novelty soon wears thin before moving to the next sketch, but when it does Nightmare Tales truly does hit its stride.

Given Lime Champions’ radio background, it’s no surprise that audio is used particularly well in this show – especially in the sketch which features Damien in a rather unusual performance making an even stranger confession. The imagination displayed in this sketch and others is impressive and ensures a real treat for the audience as events unfold and revelations are made, few of which this reviewer saw coming.

Unfortunately, while they do well with audio, the television, which comprises part of the minimalist set, is underused in the latter part of the show. This wouldn’t be such a problem had the suggestion of it playing a bigger role not been made earlier.

Despite its minor downfalls, Lime Champions’ Nightmare Tales promises many unexpected twists and turns that make for an entertaining and well-paced comedy experience – amusing, horrifying, surprising, and definitely not the stuff of comedy nightmares.

Lime Champions’ Nightmare Tales runs until 2 October at the Tuxedo Cat. Tickets are $20 full-price and $15 concession.

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