Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Stand up comedy inspired by honest cultural experiences
Reeni Inosha is a Sri Lankan Buddhist, raised in Australia according to Sri Lankan cultural practices and customs, while also being exposed to how others around her live their lives. Her Comedy Festival show, Enlighten Me A Little, explores her journey of analyzing the many things she's been taught about her worth, including things she's internalized but has mixed feelings about, and identifying things within her cultural system as well as in her surroundings that might make her happy.
Inosha is a smart, funny, and energetic performer with some pretty unique stories to tell. She talks about a variety of things, predominantly the ups and downs of her love life, but also Buddhism, meditation, music, botox, arranged marriages and the Sri Lankan caste system. Some parts of the show feel quite informative and educational about a way of life that isn't necessarily mainstream in Australia, while other parts feel relatable regardless of where you're from or how you've been raised. Her stories resonate with the truth of deeply felt experiences, which can make parts of this show feel quite serious, but she also throws in a lot of funny observational humour and segments of sketch and physical comedy which keep her audience on board.
Enlighten Me A Little is a show that is inspired by real life and cultural experiences, and has a consistently meaningful feel to it. Inosha does some clever parodies of meditation camps in Bali, hot (but douchey) guys on social media, and "white mums" helping their daughters through heartbreak (in contrast to "brown mums" in the same situation), which are cheeky and funny but also loaded with subtext, so the show is never silly or absurd. There are also a few instances of audience interaction, including a real estate inspection scene at the beginning, and a wedding scene enacted later on - quite funny, and a good way to keep the energy up in the room, but if you'd prefer a more passive experience you might want to sit closer to the walls than the aisles (simply avoiding the front rows won't keep you safe in this show!).
Inosha is a very likeable performer with a perspective you won't find in many other stand up shows at this year's Comedy Festival. So if you feel like watching something different, and learning about traditional ways that Sri Lankans find matches apart from Tinder, this might be a fun show to check out.