Comedy sketch group PO PO MO CO (or, to give the full title – Post Post Modern Comedy) are ‘neo-vaudevillains’, presenting a twenty-first century take on the format of cartoonish hosts, loosely threaded sketches, songs and dance. Their latest offering – Recreation and Leisure – is all about domesticity. Parodying hangover concepts from the eighties like Tupperware parties and prawn cocktails, the show veers through cringe-inducing yet indicting satire to joyful ridiculousness without batting an eyelid.
This is weird, smart, gross out, physical comedy at its best. Performing is Kimberley Twiner, Amaya Vecellio, Dave Maney, Anna Lehmann Thomson, Lily Fish and Claire Sullivan. With five queer ladies in the troupe, its no surprise that Po Po Mo Co frequent the bookshop/bar/performance space/happening spot that is Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy. Contrasting the somewhat demure backdrop of bookshelves are the elaborate costumes, bombastic movements and over the top characters presented on stage. It’s been said before, but bears repeating; Sullivan has a fantastically expressive arse.
It should also be said that this isn’t actually ‘post post modern comedy’ in any kind of strict academic application of the term. There’s no ‘new sincerity’, no calls for earnestness. Instead, the title mocks the hipster attempt at connection while still embracing the new and the novel. The comedy often comes from estrangement, meaning jokes don’t always result in laughs for everyone; the material walks that fine line between discomfort and hilarity. More generally however, there’s so much energy pouring off the performers it’s impossible not to get swept up and feel connected, even when the material is absurd.
If you like your comedy loud, physical and theatrical, PO PO MO CO is for you. Plus, this show isn’t technically part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, so if you miss tonight’s final performance, you might be able to catch it again soon.
Recreation and Leisure is on tonight at 9pm at Hares and Hyenas. Tickets range between $15 – $20, but there is a pay as you feel option for those in need. Tickets are available online and at the door.