The year is 2092, and you’re tuned to the GB Network’s exclusive coverage of the Elympics of the XLIX Olympiad, coming to you live from Windows 3.1 Stadium. Your hosts are Eden and Josh, who will be bringing you all the latest from such events as GoldenEye Fencing, Solataire, and Minesweeper. All that, plus a chance to win $5,000 in Cash and two tickets to beautiful Hamilton Island courtesy of our good friends at Ansett Australia. Welcome to the Wide World of Esports (the hashtag, for anyone using the socials, is #esportshit).
Wide World of Esports is the 2017 Golden Gibbo nominee production from Game Boys (real life brothers Eden and Josh Porter), and it’s found its place at Melbourne Fringe like that weird Z-shaped thingy in a game of Tetris. The show is an hour of thematically linked sketches, revolving around the Elympics, although those not as familiar with games and gaming culture should not be put off; the 2090s is – I’m sure you’ll find – uncannily familiar, and the show is guaranteed to stir deep feelings of nostalgia (for me, it was the use of Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is”, which many of a certain age will remember from Channel 9’s sports coverage). The references are broad enough that you will easily understand them, though there are a few slightly more obscure ones for us nerds.
Eden and Josh are energetic and entertaining, portraying presenters of the various events, competitors, and the socials obsessed volunteer coordinators, who were an absolute highlight, and insanely familiar to anyone who’s ever worked around such people. The slight manic-ness to their enthusiasm was especially hilarious. Another stand out was one of their live cross from the studio, which elicited much laughter from the opening night crowd.
Recognition must be given to the technical aspects of the show, which enhanced the comedy tenfold. It’s a fascinating reversion of tech, especially with their coverage of events at Windows 3.1 Stadium, which, again, will be especially appreciated by your computer obsessed friend, but also common enough that it can be laughed at by anyone with even a passing acquaintance.
There is also – shudder – some audience participation, but it is very clear that all efforts were made to involve those volunteers in the humor, rather than make them the butt of it. The medal giving ceremony in particular is of note in this respect. There is also competition in which a member of the audience is selected to take part in a “Mario Medley”, with their score recorded on a ranking board that is updated nightly.
So if you’re a regular Duck Hunt-er or even just a casual Minesweeper, Wide World of Esports may just be the Pac-Man Killscreen of Comedy you’ve been looking for (Note: For anyone who doesn’t get those references, I’m trying to say it’s good).
Wide World of Esports is at the Courthouse Hotel at 8:15pm until 30 September 2018 as part of Melbourne Fringe. Tickets are available from the Melbourne Fringe website.