Wednesday, 1 April 1998

The Nualas, April 1, 1998

The Nualas
Melbourne International Comedy Festival 1998
Reviewed by Kate Herbert on or around April 1, 1998

Let's face it. The Irish are really bloody funny and musical trio, The Nualas, are no exception.

These three women, all conveniently called Nuala, sing, mime, lament and prattle with us and each other. The audience almost immediately fell in love three times over with Skinny Guitar Nuala, Tall Dancing Nuala and Little Percussion Nuala (My names for them).

The Nualas look like nuns in silver lame'. They arrive on stage dancing an Irish jig to a James Bond-like soundtrack and proceed to banter in triplicate and sing original material with clever and bizarre lyrics riddled with irony and wit. They are perfectly in tune with each other, both musically and in the balance of characters and patter.

They have done their Melbourne homework that allows them to make topical references to local places and identities: Skase, Howard, Altona, Werribee. A rapid response to an audience member called Phillip was, "You have an Island don't you?

They sing songs from their 1997 "Wounded Woman Tour". They are all single, all dumped, all in Nuala therapy, all looking for love. Many have melodramatic titles such as "Tragic Circumstance" or "You Were Gone".

All are peppered with satirical quips, clever rhymes and hilarious choreography. Dancing Nuala compares men to a cup of tea. The refined, leaf-tea in a porcelain cup "turns out to be a dickhead". So she tries the scruffy chipped mug kinda guy. He's a dickhead too.

When they lose the Irish final for the Eurovision song contest, they represent Belgium instead with a multi lingual love song.  "No-one would be single if we all were multi lingual."

The lyrics combine the sweet, the silly and the grotesque.  In "You were gone", the departing lover, "sprayed the house with swearwords" and then "sellotaped the door".

My favourite, "Oddity" was a jazz-influenced melody with Beat poet lyrics and blue jazz mood lighting about Curly Kay who has a cabbage for a head. She martyred herself to feed starving children and became "the patron saint of the vegetable patch".

They take holidays in Lourdes, call Limerick the "stabbing capital of Ireland" and dismiss Sean O'Casey's famous Irish plays as "all brown trousers with turf". Their favoourite movie idol is Donald Sutherland and musical influences are "pop, rock baroque - and Alice Cooper"  She was great".

These Celtic Nana Mouskouri triplets are hilarious and enchanting.

Kate Herbert


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