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Paradise! - Melbourne Fringe Review

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by Aridhi Anderson (subscribe)
Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Event: -
A show that is cool, smart, slightly gross, but fun as hell
Matt Young and Barney Pollock are on the train to Paradise. They're the conductors on that train. They've been on that train for a while and they're not sure how long it's going to take to get there. Matt's doing a lot of nervous poos and Barney's in frequent therapy with his sock puppet Quackson. But they're still pretty excited because they've been texting with the ice cream man and they really, really believe in him. They're also not the only passengers on that train: there are other travellers in other carriages, all apparently travelling in twos. It's like the antitype of Noah's Ark: the train is full of losers, the rest of the world is alive and well and going on as usual, and there are no women on board to help populate the next world...

Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.
Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.


Paradise! is a high energy, bizarre comedy show about two friends on a journey together. It is ambitious, funny, boisterous and grotesque. It is performed in the form of a series of short sketches which are sweet, silly, shocking, satirical, spoofy, sometimes spooky, and often sick (in every meaning of the word). The show starts out a little bit slow, and you might feel uncertain about where this is going, but sometimes that's just what being on a train is like at first. It picks up pace very quickly though, and soon you're rushing past stations, trying to keep up with all the pop culture references that start to whiz past.

Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.
Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.


The show is loaded with references to movies and entertainment and young adult experiences among other things: Good Will Hunting, Castle Rock Entertainment, Michel's Patisserie, Elon Musk and Call of Duty were among some of the references I recognized, but there was a whole heap of others that went right over my head. Judging by the laughter in the room, other people didn't find these references so obscure. Or even if they did, the show was clearly funny enough to invite an enthusiastic response anyway. I know I laughed at a lot of jokes I didn't fully understand.

Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.
Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.


On the surface, this show appears to be completely flippant in both content and performance, but despite its frivolity, it also has a surprising amount of depth. It invites reflection on a number of significant questions, for those inclined to mull over things after they've gone home. Questions like: what do you truly want? What is your idea of paradise? How do you cope with the awful things in life? Where do you get your validation from? These questions also add heaviness to the darker parts of the show, of which there are some, especially towards the end. However, any depth in this show is well and truly offset by the unrelenting barrage of bodily fluid jokes, of which there are also several, especially towards the end.

Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.
Matt Young and Barney Pollock. Photo credit: Jesse Vogelaar.


This show by the Cool & Smart Bois is cool and smart for real, and Matt Young and Barney Pollock deliver very enjoyable performances. Be warned though, it's not always classy, and it does get gross (I wouldn't discourage you from wearing a raincoat if you're sitting in the front row). Audience interaction is full on, and you may even find yourself called upon to participate. However, it's all in good fun, and if that's your preferred brand of humour, you will probably love this show.

Paradise! is written and performed by Barney Pollock and Matt Young, directed by Broni and produced by Eloise Antonie.
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Why? Ambitious, funny, boisterous and grotesque comedy show
When: 12-18 September 2018
Phone: (03) 9660 9666
Where: The Courthouse Hotel - Jury Room, Cnr Errol & Queensberry Sts, North Melbourne
Cost: $20
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