Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Light and funny sketch comedy and music
Kieran Boyd and Derek Wilson came together at Melbourne Fringe 2019 to perform Tandem, which they describe as a "solo sketch show in two parts". The show was a mix of sketch comedy and music with a little bit of stand up thrown in. The sketches were light, funny and random, and were loosely connected by the semi-continuous theme of being connected, and what it means for two people to function together in a coordinated effort while maintaining their individual identities and styles.
The show's opening sketch showed Derek and Kieran as conjoined twins, spending all their time together and living their lives as one. As the show went on, they underwent surgery and went their separate ways, which had a different impact on each brother. Kieran moved to Sweden, found new friends, and fell in love with Helga Ikea. Derek stayed behind, missing Kieran, longing to spend time watching movies with his brother again. This story served as a metaphor that kind of encapsulated the whole show: Kieran's segments were bold, adventurous, unpredictable, and travelled through different types of characters and situations. Derek's segments were more contained, he tended to stick to a more focused range of characters and emotions. They complemented each other when they were performing together, and yet also shone when they split up and did their own thing.
Tandem covered a broad variety of themes and ideas. There were sketches about going to battle, having a talk about the birds and the bees, being an Instagram star, lobsters, and silly product advertisements, among other things. There was also a bit of low-pressure audience interaction, and a bit of improvisation. A number of Kieran's sketches stood out for their creativity and delightful silliness - notably, his presentation as a twelve year old boy about why he believes he might actually be a ghost, and his sketch as a minister reading from the book of Tobias. In the ghost presentation, he got a lot of laughs but also drew an emotional response, presenting the valid insecurities and logical reasoning of a child that I'm certain many of us would relate to as adults. In the religious reading sketch, he tapped into a breadcrumb trail structure of sorts that again was deeply relatable to those of us who like to practice free association or randomly clicking links till we end up in bizarre places (which, if we're honest, is all of us). Derek's sketch/song about his five house coats was a highlight from among his sketches, and was the sort of ridiculous catchy song that can and will get stuck in your head when you most need to focus on something else.
Overall, Tandem was a fun show and an easy experience. It had its dips and its peaks, and was often very silly, but all that was part of its charm as a sketch comedy show at Fringe.