Fresh off the back of their award-winning season at Adelaide Fringe, Mel O’Brien and Samantha Andrew return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with another manic cabaret show titled, Mel & Sam: High Pony.
Having experienced the wild ride that was No Hat No Play! at last year’s MICF, I was itching to see what these two powerhouses had cooked up for this year’s festival.
High Pony is set as a sketch comedy show with musical theatre at its core. Opening with an epic nine-minute number titled, Net-Fucking-Ball, the chaos meter was already off the scale. This number alone highlights that there is no line that Mel & Sam are not willing to cross. The blatantly sexual lyrics that are shot down by the start of the next verse, display not only their pretence for sexual humour, but their understanding of musical structure and quick wit.
If their observational humour was not clear enough during the first number, it is most certainly clear by the second. A hilarious piece about Where’s Wally, complete with a red and white striped sweater, beanie, scarf, and thick black rimmed glasses to round out the look. Beginning with Mel in a solo performance that was not only lyrically hilarious, but also beautifully performed, Mel’s voice is utterly stunning and when joined on stage by Sam, their harmonies were just as sweet. Hilarity aside, the number is also very thought provoking about being feeling invisible within society. Even when there are others like you, it is easy to feel alone.
High Pony is not all song and dance, with some very clever short sketches between numbers. Not only do they allow for a short reprieve from the musical chaos, but they are also so cleverly written that they could have easily appeared on the classic sketch comedy shows that I grew up with. I never would have thought that Water Slide Lifeguards would have me keeling over, but it did.
With an all-original set of music and lyrics, there are several musical numbers that are equally as fantastic as each other. ‘Lesbians Don’t Get the Ick, And That’s Science!’, ‘Babies Are Cancelled’, a song about Eshays, and even a truth telling number about little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks. And even though High Pony is so tightly scripted, the pair are not afraid to call out members of the audience, improvise lyrics, and even roll with the punches as costume failures occurred. One such moment I will never unsee is Mel putting on a pair of sunglasses during the Eshay number, only to have one lens completely missing. Mel’s comedic prowess took over, and absolutely owned it.
I am not surprised that their three remaining shows at The Toff have completely sold out. However, they have added one more show at the iconic Capitol Theatre on Swanston Street and it is going to be huge! If I were not already booked, I most definitely would have seen High Pony again!
Mel & Sam: High Pony is the perfect mix of cabaret and sketch comedy that will leave you wanting more. The dynamically chaotic duo pack in an incredible set of side-splitting humour into their one-hour show. I for one could not stop repeating the lyrics of ‘Net-Fucking-Ball’ over and over on the drive home. I wish the songs were available on streaming and I sincerely hope that the pair win an award this year, because this show damn well deserves one.
Do not miss your opportunity to see one of the best shows going around at this year’s Comedy Festival. Head to the website now and secure your tickets because this will sell out!
Mel & Sam: High Pony is on until April 12th.
For more information and ticketing, visit: