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Hit By A Blimp: I'm Here - Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018

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by Chris Small (subscribe)
Canadian freelance writer living in Melbourne. Saw a Kangaroo once. In the Zoo... Seen tons of snakes though. What's with all the snakes??
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How to be less socially awkward in just 50 minutes
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has once again taken over the downtown core for the month of April, turning the city of Melbourne into one giant laugh factory during a period of time I like to dub "Comedy Christmas". With well over 100 acts in the festival line-up, comedians from far and wide have turned this city into a home base for the upcoming weeks. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer number and variety of acts performing on any given night. Yet one would be remiss to miss out on the emerging local talents who have made it into this esteemed festival, priming themselves for the exposure that brings. One such act is Melbourne trio, Hit By A Blimp.

Hit By A Blimp is comprised of Caitlyn Staples, Tiana Hogben, and Jayden Masciulli. Their show "I'm Here" is their second sketch revue coming on the momentum of their successful 2016 Melbourne Fringe show "Who We Were". While that show explored the themes of nostalgia and revisiting childhood, "I'm Here" is very much a show set in the here and now, examining the difficulty of interacting in today's world without hiding behind a phone or computer screen.

Social anxiety is on the rise in almost every age and cultural demographic, and Hit By A Blimp hold a magnifying glass up to what exactly it is about human interaction that can produce sweaty palms and mild panic attacks.

Expertly making use of the intimate playing space at the Trades Hall, The show opens with the three comedians bombarding the audience with a series of excuses as to why they are unable to make it to whatever it is they have been invited to. The troupe's individual voices layer over one another into a cacophony of passive aggressive rejection until it all comes to a crescendo, taking us into the first sketch that works as a nice framing device throughout the rest of the show.

From there comes a variety of scenes that address the incredibly relatable social norms of today. From the forced conversations that occur when someone's different friend groups collide, to the very real phenomenon of Fear of Missing Out, Hit By A Blimp serves up sketch after sketch of intelligent insight into the pressures and difficulties of leaving the apartment and actually doing things.

To give away too much of the show would be a disservice, but particular standouts are a musical ode to the agony and ecstasy of ordering Uber Eats, along with a sketch where a co-worker tries to invite herself to post-work drinks that is peak cringe-humour.

There is also a wonderfully surreal scene with elaborate homemade costumes. I'm a sucker for elaborate homemade costumes.

The three cast members are all very strong and play well off of each other. Yet the most impressive aspect of the entire show isn't the chemistry or energy of the troupe, but the raw honesty on display. Who among us at one time or another hasn't had crushing inner thoughts of inadequacy, or even worse, having those fears validated by being shunned outright in a social situation? There are plenty of laughs to be had at this show, but once you stop laughing each sketch lingers with an uncomfortable familiarity, where you may find yourself being brought back to more painful and socially regressive times.

Luckily laughter is the best medicine, and Hit By A Blimp have you covered in that department.
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*Chris Small was invited as a guest
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Why? Because it's ok to laugh at being socially awkward
When: 7:30pm, 6:30pm, 5:30pm (Dependant on Date)
Where: Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton
Cost: $20-25
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