Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 7 April 2016
Ongals in Babbling Comedy, April 6, 2016 ****1/2
Melbourne Internatioal Comedy Festival The Famous Spiegeltent until April 17,
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
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