At the conclusion of last year many, it is safe to say, were left with the acrid taste of disappointment in their mouths. Collectively, we involuntarily forfeited all which gives meaning to our lives – connection with others and our environment, art, community, freedom. And yet, it is from such dearth that persistence develops. In 2021, the need to persist with the events we love has become more crucial to our recovery than perhaps we care to recognise. In order to propel ourselves into a new normal, we must seek out the normal we longed for all of last year, and grab it with two eager hands when it presents itself.
That, quite evidently, is exactly what Three Percent Battery is doing.
In their 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, ‘Social Fabric’, Three Percent Battery attempt to put the tedium of 2020 aside, substituting in its place an examination of the world in which we find ourselves: a world of inconsistencies and uncomfortableness and of things best left unsaid. Regrouping following the cancellation of MICF 2020 and border closures affecting the Adelaide Fringe, Social Fabric is a refreshing performance delivered by actors and writers astute, and passionate, about the refinement of their craft.
The cast of Social Fabric is entirely composed of current and ex-Monash University students. Brought together through their shared interest in the Monash Law Revue, Louise, Ethan and Rish bring a wealth of experience and comedic ‘know-it-all-ism’ to the show, all of which is palpably obvious from the moment they commence. The dynamic between the three is jovial and familiar. Bouncing from one to another with playful ease, the performers generate an energetic viewing experience; no sooner has a sketch ended than a new one has commenced, the audience in turn thrusted into a refurbished, but equally outrageous environment with every passing minute.
With minimal assistance from props, the events of the show play out rapidly – we find ourselves in a church, hardware store, protest, tram carriage and airport terminal within the space of half an hour. This of course is reminiscent of very traditional sketch comedy: the comedy that emerged before the advent of handheld cameras and mobile phones, one which relied upon the intimate relationship between performers and their audience. In this way, Three Percent Battery forge an atmosphere of inclusion. The pared back performance is stripped of pretence and encourages all to forfeit themselves to a little vulnerability; to laugh without caring about the noise, to see themselves, and others, in the performances on stage and to feel, if only for an hour, as if genuine normalcy has returned.
The Melbourne Comedy Festival, when it arrives in March 2021, offers an opportunity to relinquish ourselves to laughter once again. To engage with live performances, Three Percent Battery’s Social Fabric being among them. Having been involved in its creation, and witnessing the performance in action, my recommendation for attendance cannot come highly enough. It is lively, clever and riotously funny, deeply refreshing in its familiarity. The spectre of COVID is shed, and in its place, the levity we came to miss re-emerges, more triumphant than ever.
Though it cannot hope to fully relieve the lingering disappointment, separation and loss imprinted by last year, it will bring a smile to your face, and a fast exhale to your nose. It will make you think in some parts and giggle in all. But most importantly, Social Fabric strives earnestly to make its audience feel a little better about their place in our sometimes frightening world.
And that, in my opinion, is worth a lot.
Details of the Performance
Dates: 5th – 18th of April, excluding Wednesdays
Venue: The Charles Dickens Tavern, 290 Collins Street Melbourne
Ticket Prices: Concession and Adult Fares Available
Times: Starting 8:00 pm (Sundays 7:00 pm) 50 minute run time
Tickets available online through the MICF official website: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2021/shows/social-fabric#