6 October, Common Room
Fringe in the ‘Stings 2017
I found Sera Devcich intriguing to watch: she was confident, gorgeous, and engaging. I loved the way she moved around Common Room’s funky stage, creasing her face into numerous comical expressions, and effectively using her physicality to the point it was hard to take your eyes off her. So why didn’t her performance leave me with a lasting memory that will make me snigger when waiting in line at Pak’n Save?
The central theme of the act was billed as parenting. Being a parent of four children, I was looking forward to recognising myself in her performance and having a laugh about it all. The realms of parenting should offer a comedian a plethora of material from the silly right through to the serious. Sera’s parenting element focused mainly on her young daughter’s misgivings accompanied with an unhealthy dose of self-deprecation.
The topic of parenting was intermixed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, feminism, dating, sex and the denigration of male genitalia, all of which appeared to be heavily dependent on audience participation to succeed. Our small, intimate and provincial audience struggled to engage with Sera and to offer her stories which would naturally enrich her material. There were uncomfortable silences and awkward responses, a reticence which left little opportunity for adlibbing. These elements, combined with the noise from the bar, clearly challenged her.
Possibly this was not the right venue for Sera’s act. I can imagine in a larger metropolitan setting she would generate greater audience banter in which to bounce off. While it’s great to have comedians come from the big city to participate in a local arts festival, I believe in some cases the performances do not travel well, and that in this case, Sera could have benefited from a heads-up as to what to expect, or not to expect, from the local crowd.
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