You may have already gathered from the comedians filling Melbourne’s streets and the articles filling this edition’s sheets, but the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is well and truly under way. As a board-certified comedy connoisseur I find that there are two main categories of performers at the festival. You’ve got your big-name headlines from TV: Tom Ballard, Clare Hooper, Josh Thomas and so on. And then you’ve got the freshly started, new comedians trying to make their dent on the comedy scene.
Whilst seeing the being names can be great, you know what to expect and don’t really get any surprises. I personally prefer to find a smaller show and experience something unexpected – to be blown away by either how terrible or how wonderful the act is. With Susie Youseff it was most definitely the latter.
Susie’s debut show Sketchual Chocolate is (as the names suggests) half your traditional stand-up comedy with tales from her own life (think Seinfeld) and the other half a one-person sketch show (think Saturday Night Live) featuring an array of unique characters.
The stand-up comedy is solid but it’s in the sketches that Susie truly shines. For some sketches she uses audience participation for a second character and the show as the whole manages to have a very intimate vibe from both its size and from the tasteful audience interaction. In other sketches she plays two roles at the same time and her ability to do so and make it seem like they are actually holding a conversation is quite phenomenal- I honestly can’t recall having seen any other performer do it quite as well.
Although this is Susie’s first solo show, it’s not her first time performing, having previously performed with Scrabble Unscripted and The Delusionists. She’s also worked behind the scenes in comedy, as Tour Manager for Axis of Awesome on their tour to Edinburgh, with her experience showing in her refined performance.
I arrived late to the show due to public transport so I can’t say much about the first five minutes of the show – hopefully she doesn’t release a massive swarm of bees into the audience at the start but if she does than I hold no responsibility.
Without removing the element of surprise, things you can look forward to include the crowd favourite character Anya, cheesy musical interludes and some … interesting dancing.
If you want to go to a show that truly encapsulates the essence of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, finding and celebrating new talent, then Sketchual Chocolate is the show for you. A mixture of stand-up, sketch and even some mime from a potential future big-name headline.