I’ve always enjoyed comedy as a form of storytelling. The ability to communicate a human experience to an audience who may not be able to immediately relate to it, but can connect to it via humour is an incredibly powerful thing.
Tanya Losanno’s show tells the story of her own journey from rebellious second-generation Italian-Australian teenager to registering as the primary carer for her parents, now in their late 80s, complete with brief 20-year interlude spent partying in Melbourne and starting her own family.
The focus for this show is on the story, finding the small moments of comedy from the everyday struggles of finding your own independence from your parents, especially if you move back into their home as an adult as Losanno did. There’s also the interesting exploration of what it is to become old, told not from the common position of cruel detachment, but from a place of compassion and concern.
As the show’s title suggests, there’s a The Good, the Bad and the Ugly through-line to the show. The music of Ennio Morricone is used as a framing device, as well as an ongoing motif of being a cowboy, but to be honest, it almost seemed to distract from the show at times. Certainly, the physical actions of donning the hat and queuing the music derailed the rhythm of the show in some places and some of the anecdotes delivered during these bits seem like they would have been funnier just relayed as jokes.
Although a little sweary and a little unflattering at times, the overall impression I walked away from this show with was of wholesomeness, and I really liked it. Tanya’s story, both on a personal and comedic level, is so lovely and the show is engaging and funny and, while it doesn’t quite fit amongst the stand-up routines found throughout the Comedy Festival, it’s certainly good to see alternative uses of comedy thriving regardless.
The Good, the Bad and the Elderly is on at 7pm at the Malthouse until 21 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available from the comedy festival website or the Malthouse box office.