Thursday, 7 April 2016

Ongals in Babbling Comedy, April 6, 2016 ****1/2

Melbourne Internatioal Comedy Festival
The Famous Spiegeltent until April 17, 2016
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Wed April 6, 2016
Stars: ****1/2
Review also in Herald Sun Arts Online on Thurs April 7, 2016. KH

Ongals are side-splittingly hilarious Korean clowns who communicate in gibberish and look like a gang of giant, marauding K-Pop babies in pastel pyjamas – even when they’re juggling knives.

Imagine absurd, Three Stooges-style status relationships, boisterous physical comedy and gestural language, then add alarmingly dangerous stunts and audience participation all performed in nonsense language with the occasional, discernible English word.

They have the audience eating out of their hands from the first appearance of jolly, yellow Ongal who wears a lemon onesie (you know, one piece jim-jams) and instructs the audience to shut up, sit down, turn off phones and keep kids quiet or they’ll punish you gruesomely – in mime, anyway.

Yellow Ongal seems smart and controlling compared to red Ongal who looks insane and clumsy while blue Ongal is delightfully dopey and plump.

The show is uproariously funny for all ages as the Ongals galumph around the stage, taunting each other and the audience, encouraging one another to perform more and more dangerous and ridiculous feats of juggling and trickery.

They play like toddlers, finding bizarre uses for objects such as toilet seats, rubber gloves and paint rollers, but their finest lunatic activity is using a garden sprayer as a ‘bottom-pump’ to help them blow up balloons. Picture that!

They play a silly version Oh, Susannah on tiny, hand-held bells, enlisting the assistance of a courageous young man from the crowd who they haul back on stage later to be the victim of a whip-cracking stunt by blue Ongal, the juggling star.

Jut when you thought you’d figured out Ongals’ comedy limits, Beat Box Ongal arrives, using a microphone to perform stunning vocal sound effects to accompany a three-way juggling routine.

Ongals’ Babbling Comedy is skilful, organised comedy chaos that is often gob-smacking, sometimes alarming and always riotously funny. K-Komedy rules!

By Kate Herbert


  1. Saw them last year and almost died from laughter overload. Seeing them again tonight and cannot wait :)

  2. Yep! I was passing the Speigeltent last night & heard their beat-box music & wanted to rush in again! K :-)