Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Witty and nonsensical comedy about time travel
Paul Noodle PhD. Candidate (Jacob Sacher and Jack McGorlick, with Sandro Falce on tech) is a Melbourne-based comedy team with a hilarious show at the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Red Noodle Blue. It's a sketch comedy show weaved around a bizarrely endearing concept: the show's director Paul Noodle (a pool noodle) has gone missing in time, and Jacob and Jack must time-travel (and risk stuffing up their tech guy Sandro) to rescue Paul, bring him back and put on their show as planned.
Red Noodle Blue is an utterly bonkers show full of energy, high drama, and a ton of laughs. Jacob Sacher and Jack McGorlick are natural, unpretentious and very likeable performers who really know how to engage their audience, and take us along for a ride that is simultaneously witty and nonsensical. The show employs several familiar tropes about time travel: if you're going to where you've been before, you have to take care not to see your past self; going back in time and changing things can screw up other things in the present day, and so forth. These classics are dealt with in original and funny ways, and are topped with classic Melbourne references which resonate well with the local audience. There are surprise elements within the show that showcase the performers' versatility, and add variety to the show's comedic style.
The venue was intimate and basic in a lot of ways, but that only added to the charm of this show. The show quite literally did not fit on the tiny stage, and the performers frequently had to hop off it to be able to do what the scene required, which was surprisingly effective and, in fact, rather cute. The active involvement of Sandro, who was at the tech desk all the way at the back of the room, meant that the audience attention was often drawn away from the stage. It wasn't easy to see him because of the bright white lights that were pointed in the direction of the stage, but the show made up for that by Sandro making an occasional appearance at the front of the room (usually to the dismay of Jacob and Jack). In some ways, this show was as much about keeping Sandro away as it was about bringing Paul back.
Red Noodle Blue is a very funny show that highlights the great variety of comic skill and laughs on offer at the Comedy Festival. It's a great night out, especially if you're a fan of smaller-scale shows, and if you're not a fan yet, perhaps this is the sort of show that might make you one. Just don't be surprised if the performers and their props accidentally brush against you mid-performance (true story in the front row), and watch out for a little bit of fun, low-pressure audience interaction (not just in the front row).