‘Wes come on love they’re all waiting for you… it’s showtime!’ screams out a woman in the audience, before taking a seat. The audience is waiting with baited breath, knowing full well Wes Snelling cannot come out on stage to perform. He can’t because he is the woman sitting in the chair waiting for Wes to come on. It’s the perfect introduction to set it up as the kind of show where you should indeed expect the unexpected.
The relaxed Order of Melbourne bar is the perfect backdrop for Wes Snelling’s fantastic new comedy festival offering that presents a variety show with a twist. A Tina Del Twiste to be exact.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
When he finally does come out (I won’t give away how that happens) Snelling acts as MC for the show, introducing four acts with a bit of comedic banter. Each night of the show will feature two different special guest acts and two regular guests. On this particular night the special guests were Em Rusciano and Bart Freebairn. The other two regular guests are in fact his characters creations, Carl and Tina, both of whom are played to such perfection that you start to forget that they are actually Snelling.
Carl Snelling is an archetypal uncomfortable and somewhat socially retarded heterosexual man, who believes that he is innately funny. His ‘act’ consists of telling ‘funny’ stories inspired by random words given to him by the audience. And he is so spectacularly uncomfortable and unfunny, that he is hysterical.
Most would already know Wes Snelling’s other character creation, Tina Del Twist from her many appearances on the festival circuit. And in this show Snelling has sharpened this aging alcoholic chanteuse into spectacular form. She’s such a contradiction; Forgetful, but full of tricks to engineer her fill of applause and adulation, she plays the crowd with her hilarious drunken divaesque behavior, and captivates us with her mesmerizing voice as she sings some pretty deep songs about how we need to love and respect each other more.
Em Rusciano was the first act to appear. You may think you know this great girl from her regular appearances on shows like the 7pm Project, the Circle or from seeing her as a top 10 finalist in Australian Idol a few years ago. But you havn’t seen anything yet. Rusciano delivers some of the best written, outrageously funny adult comedy I’ve ever witnessed with near perfect precision and with a fierce campness that would give RuPaul a run for his mascara. You’ll wet your pants over her hysterical segway fan, stories about the clag corner at the blue light disco and point scoring at couples counseling. And you’ll melt to her incredible soulful voice as she sings the songs that punctuate her fantastic routine. Rusciano proves that she’s so much more than a pretty face or reality show contestant. If this is any indication of this girls talent, then Australia’s got a major freekin’ comedy star on its hands.
The hilarious and rather spunky Bart Freebairn appeared as act three, with a very naturally delivered routine that played on social awkwardness and took the piss out of our unfounded faith in the ridiculous. To warm us up he inspired the call of 10,000 spirit animals and regailed us with histerical tales of what happens when that part of the show went wrong. Clearly a naturally funny comedian, Freebairn proves that he is a bit of an observational humour genius with his segments about the power of crystals, aura healing and the spirituality of dolphins. Bart Freebairn has his own show at the Order of Melbourne every night during the festival except Mondays that is most definitely worth taking in. Get your tickets here.
Wes Snelling is one of Melbourne’s great talents, and the proof is in shows like this. Running the Risque is not the kind of show where you just sit back and passively enjoy a night of comedy monologues. It’s one of the more original shows you’ll see this comedy festival, delivering a fabulously unexpected show with fantastic performances and five star cabaret comedy with a relaxed loungeroom feel.
Each night of the show will feature two different special guests. To find out who will be appearing on any given night click here. Although we highly recommend Thursday 5 April when Em Rusciano joins forces with the fabulous Adam Richards in a show that is gaurenteed to bring the house down.
Wes Snelling’s Running The Risque plays at the Order of Melbourne (401 Swanston Street, City) for 6 shows only, from 1 – 5 April, and 8 April. Get your tickets here.