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Fringe review: Comedians Against Humanity

Adelaide Fringe

Interactivity is really the name of this game as four comedians vie to spontaneously produce the best lines for a participating audience. Make it rude and crude, too, and you have a recipe for non-PC fun. ★★★ ½

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Yianni Agisilaou is the host with the quick repartee. Some of his quips may have been well honed from previous iterations of the show before Adelaide, as you would expect, but there is no doubt that he is an entertaining personality able to respond instantly to fresh situations.

That’s also the basic demand of the Cards Against Humanity game on which this show is based. It provides a great structure for Agisilaou and his three fellow comedians to engage the audience. Those partners in comic crime may change from night to night and on this occasion were Stephanie Lang, Kat, and Darius Davies, and their fast timing was essential.

Comedians Against Humanity places these four agile minds in a number of structured situations in which the “wild card” ingredients are always randomly selected Cards Against Humanity phrases.

The different scenarios were, by turns, cruel, strange and politically incorrect — just as the audience (most of whom had played the card game) would have expected. Some responses were stronger than others. This style of comedy is risky and clearly hard work but it pays off for those on stage and off.

The opening Press Conference skit was uneven but that’s what you get with this kind of impromptu offering, and it did pick up as direct interaction with the audience increased. The latter is, of course, the key to success with such a show. The Story Time setting, for example, was delightful. Identifying other subjects here is probably unfair on the host and the producer Carrie Hardie. Better to keep the rest a surprise.

This show is not to be confused with Improv Attacks Humanity, running at Tandanya, by the way. That similar naming even confused box office staff.

Comedians Against Humanity is a welcome presentation for those who appreciate quick humour with a dark edge, and plenty of participation on their part. No one gets picked on, so you don’t have to worry about being in the front row, and the laughter is genuinely shared.

Comedians Against Humanity plays in Gluttony until March 17. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.

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