Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
Pleasant sketch comedy with great costumes
Mark Gambino is Grazie Fibonacci, a sketch comedian with wit, charisma, and a very versatile wardrobe. In his comedy festival show The Return of Grazie Fibonacci, he takes us on a 50 minute ride through time, pop culture, and philosophy, in air, on land, and in the devil's domain, with several unexpected twists and turns on the way to a happily ever after.
The Return of Grazie Fibonacci is a light, low-pressure sketch comedy show that is mostly sweet and silly, seasoned with occasional philosophical reflections and musings. Performed at an intimate venue in Tasma Terrace, the show is transparent and unpretentious, while still being a skilful and enjoyable performance. Gambino is a warm and confident artist, very much at home on stage and among his audience, and is refreshingly good at inviting audience participation that maintains the energy in the room while feeling genuinely optional.
Gambino's costume changes, characterization and props are the life of the show. With a few small changes between each sketch, he transforms his character entirely and makes a very convincing airline pilot, robber, TED talk presenter, dinosaur, and singer in the clutches of the devil, among other things. His mime skills are very effective and are a major part of most of his sketches. He also does accents, which might not always be perfect, but they do add to the charm and believability of his characters.
While most of the sketches in this show are unconnected to each other, there are a couple of running themes that Gambino revisits as callbacks from time to time, which maintains continuity and elevates energy when it's starting to drop a little. Some sketches are funnier than others (as is almost always the case with sketch comedy shows), but they're all short enough that it doesn't matter too much when the occasional one doesn't quite work. The transitions between sketches (when Gambino is switching from one character to the next) are taken up with convincingly done pre-recorded radio-style audio sketch segments, which are silly and amusing if you tune in and listen, or are easy background sounds if you find yourself tuning out.
The Return of Grazie Fibonacci is a pleasant show to enjoy at the Comedy Festival, especially if you're looking for something light to wind down with at the end of a long day.