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Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

The quokkas are revolting

28 January 2020

In Quokka Apocalypse, David Zampatti discovers that the last laugh is on us.

Review: public service announcement, Quokka Apocalypse ·
Blue Room Theatre, 24 January 2020 ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

It’s been a shocking month for Australian native animals, and, I’m sure he’d agree, a pretty ordinary week for Terry Jones. Both were top of my mind during Zachary Sheridan’s Quokka Apocalypse, surely the front-runner for the Revue of Fringe World 2020 Award.

In these dark days, we tend to look for little shafts of light, and sometimes it’s healthy to take very serious things with a dose of nitrous oxide. That was certainly Jones’s philosophy and the basis of his comic art, and Sheridan shares it, here at least. So if you’re rattled by the threat of mass extinction, including our own, the all-seeing gaze of our mega-corporations and our helplessness in the face of these catastrophes, then I’m sure there’s a Best of British Comedy show on at a tent near you during Fringe where you can escape from it.

If, though, you want to look on the bright side of life, Quokka Apocalypse might be the show for you. It’s got a cute-as-pie Quokka (the irresistible Jo Morris), a serial scene-stealing Snipe (Stephanie Somerville), a martially-artistic Possum (Grace Chow), a token alien (Amelia Burke), and every other character you’d expect (Christopher Moro). It’s got the Eye of Sauron (aka the Rio Tinto building), various zany items like leaf-blowers (the sworn enemy of garden gnomes), dishwasher tablets and desalination plants.

Which brings us to the, um, plot: endangered animals conspire to destroy our water supply and consign us to the same fate that looms for them. I’ll leave the rest for you to sort out on the night.

There’s lots of repetition humour, lots of panto, lots of anthropomorphic gags, lots of the stuff Spike Milligan brought to the Goons and Terry Jones brought to Monty Python. It’s all pretty antiquated, pretty silly and pretty skittish. And since when has that been a bad thing?

The show runs for 50 minutes, and even that’s a bit longer than the idea can support, but, hey, it’s a good laugh while we wait for the last laugh that’s had on us.

Quokka Apocalypse runs until 1 February 2020 at the Blue Room.

Pictured top: Amelia Burke plays Meepa, an alien, in Quokka Apocalypse. Photo: Holly Ferguson.

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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