Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Entertaining sketch and stand up comedy
Elyce Phillips, Gamze Kirik and Donna Collins are Sweet Potatoes (even if Kirik and Collins aren't fans of the sweet potato costumes that Phillips has come up with for them). Sweet Potatoes is an hour of sketch (Phillips) and stand up (Kirik and Collins) comedy at Pilgrim, an intimate performance venue and bar by the Yarra River, and is running from 26 March - 7 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019.
Elyce Phillips performs three solo sketches, each with an erotic comedy theme, each naughtier than the last. Her first sketch is centred around a book reading about a horse called Jeremiah and showcases Phillips' writing skill and skill in text-based performance. The text is clever and (intentionally) cringy, and her characterization is convincing. Her next sketch, about a famous star and a lotion she endorses, levels up her performance and is powerfully visual. You can tell she's written great words for this one too, and she's speaking them well as usual, but it's hard to remember the actual words because the focus is really on the visual performance - and in the front row, also on protecting your drink from drops of lotion that might accidentally fall in. (The stage is very small and Phillips uses it to full effect.) Her third sketch levels up even further into a very physical funeral tribute performance (yes, you read that right), and is delightfully inappropriate in every way.
Gamze Kirik and Donna Collins have stand up segments between Phillips' sketch segments and bring refreshing variety and balance to the show. Kirik performs in an adorable, girl-next-door style and jokes about work, relationships, dental procedures, her Turkish heritage, and "the dad life". Her performance is easy to get into and enjoy and is probably the most relaxed and relatable segment in the show. Collins is also very funny, making jokes about her experiences working at a warehouse with hypermasculine types that sometimes make her nervous. Her brand of humour is somewhat edgier/less "safe" than the others in the show and has moments that invite a slight grimace, especially in relation to the timing of jokes about certain topics. But she carries it well and adds another dimension to the show.
Sweet Potatoes is a very enjoyable show overall and has a unique flavour that sets it apart. Elyce Phillips' sketch comedy is the definite highlight of the event, but the stand up segments complement it well so the show feels balanced. The venue can be hard to find if you've never been there before, so do allow a bit of time to get there and get yourself a drink before the start of the show.