Aunty Donna are an Australian three-piece bringing 60 minutes of fast-paced, filthy, contemporary-reference-heavy comedy to The Gilded Balloon. Without doubt one of, if not the funniest things I’ve seen at The Fringe this year.
The brilliance of Aunty Donna and that which makes them stands them apart from the all-male sketch group pack is the standard of the acting on show. It is one thing to write a funny comedy short, it is another altogether to drop instantly into character, believable up until the very moment the absurdist punchline shatters the illusion. Whether inappropriately lighthearted news presenters, trendy coffee shop workers or a couple of blokes ogling a lady in the park, the over-exaggerated facial expressions and dorky ‘90s Australian vernacular that comes with each transformation colours them beautifully.
The second ingredient of success is the shirt-drenchingly relentless pace of the show. In terms of content Aunty Donna are most obviously comparable to some glorious crossbreed of The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Concords. In terms of style however, they are as physically maniacal as Lee Evans and as verbose as Brian Blessed. The resultant, unlikely concoction is a dance and sing-a-long packed hour in which the fluid character changes merge the sketches seamlessly from one to another and refuse the audience a moments respite. Perhaps aware that it could all be getting a little silly, the boys weave in a little conscience between the madness: What appears to be a joke about dicks turns into a full blown rant highlighting the sexual awkwardness of the modern man and the purity of homosexual love. Continuing the theme and revelling in the vaguely grossed-out reaction, a good five minutes in spent kissing each other on the cheek.
The show finishes on a wonderfully drawn out, wonderfully ridiculous parody of Ellen DeGeneres’ philanthropy with an appropriately chunky parting punchline. Littered as it is with F-words, C-words and Iggy Azalea references, the brilliance of the trio may be lost on some. For the near sold-out audience of The Gilded Balloon’s Billiard Room however, appreciation and split sides were universal.