Mel McGlensey: Motorboat {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Mel McGlensey has quickly become a festival favourite of mine. And after seeing her two years running with her show, The Briefing, Mel McGlensey returns to this year’s Melbourne International Comedy festival with a brand-new offering, Motorboat.

Directed by Sharnema Nougar, with sound design by Max Paton, overall design consultation from Douglas Wilson, and fresh off an award-winning season at this year’s Adelaide Fringe (Winner, Best Comedy), Motorboat has docked at Melbourne’s Butterfly Club.

Now, the dictionary describes a motorboat as a relatively small watercraft propelled by an internal-combustion or electric engine. However, put that into the Urban Dictionary and you would see a completely different result. The act of pushing one’s face in between two ample breasts and rocking one’s head side to side very rapidly while making a vigorous, lip-vibrating “brrr” sound.

So, what exactly is this new show? Well, it just so happens to be a combination of both these definitions with a unique twist – Mel McGlensey herself is the Motorboat. A sweet and seemingly innocent little water vessel that just wants to explore the ocean. However, Captain Daddy has other ideas and seeks to keep Motorboat tied up to the dock. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, let me tell you, this is by far Mel McGlensey’s best show yet!

As we took our seats at The Butterfly Club, McGlensey was cheekily peeping from behind the curtain and running from one side to the other at the back of the stage. Dressed in what I can best describe as a sexy sailor costume that you might see on Halloween, McGlensey finally steps out onto stage and is instantly in character as the sweet and innocent little motorboat. Although, it is when she starts her engine that we really get a feel for what we are about to experience. Reaching into her chest and seemingly pulling on a chord, an engine start sound effect plays, and the Motorboat is powered up. Shaking her chest from side to side as she moves around the stage to the sound of the engine, the Motorboat waves hello to the sailors in the audience.

Yes, this show does involve quite a bit of crowd participation and I must say, it makes for a very exciting experience. From enlisting a member of the front row to become the hated Dock, to asking what type of boats people are, every interaction is served with purpose, even calling back to them as the show progresses. Parts of the show even left me keeling over with laughter. The way that McGlensey also uses her props is practically brilliant.

One thing is evidently clear with this show, Mel McGlensey has honed her craft as a comedian, unafraid to step out of her comfort zone to try something that is absolutely absurd and she pulls it off. I mean, a show that is based on a part-boat-part-woman character is something that I would never have expected to experience, but it works. Not only is her performance fantastic, including some beautiful vocals with a musical number, but McGlensey’s crowd work is top notch. Even with the technical difficulties at the start of the show, McGlensey leans into it, almost making it part of her act. If anything, these little mishaps just added to the wacky comedy that was unfolding before us.

Motorboat is unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced before. It is stupidly funny, has a great story, and even contains some self-discovery. It is also heavy on the sexual satire and at times, could almost pass for a burlesque show.

Shout out to the creatives behind this performance for bringing Mel McGlensey’s vision to life, including the sound and light tech for this show. Not only do they have to mix and set the lighting throughout, but they have to react to the show with a range of nautical themed sound bites. The timing and execution of these moments smartly elevates the comedy to another level.

Mel McGlensey’s Motorboat is so far outside the box that it takes a special breed of comedian to pull it off successfully. This silly, stupid and ridiculously outrageous show is her best one yet. Mel McGlensey is a star and knowing that is only her second solo work, I honestly cannot wait to see what this creative genius develops next.

Mel McGlensey’s Motorboat is now playing as part of the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and is departing the docks nightly at The Butterfly Club until the 11th of April. With less than 10 performances left, this is one boat you don’t want to miss!

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