I heard rave reviews about this show when it was being performed back in 2017, but never got around to seeing it. Now Ella Kamer and Jake Glanc have reincarnated their sketch show for the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Twenties is exactly what the name suggests; an abstract exploration of what it’s like to leave university and enter the working world. It is a weird combination of trying to function successfully as an intern in a 9-5, whilst living at home and desperately wanting to get laid. It seems no one in their twenties really has any idea what is going on.
This audience is the perfect demographic for the show, and it feels like everyone is living this reality. As the performance transitions from an opening graduation ceremony to a wild rave, it hits just a little close to home for many of us. What is particularly masterful about this show is its cohesion. Sketch shows are notorious for their disjointed nature, and while there may be funny parts, there are jokes that totally bomb with no overall plot line to justify or save them. Whilst some sketches are more abstract than others, each element ties neatly into the ultimate millennial experience, keeping the audience engaged even through long transitions and moments of slow pacing.
Kamer and Glanc have immensely different skill sets, and they clearly know it. With each playing to their respective strengths, the show becomes beautifully well rounded and engaging. Glanc excels at playing ridiculous characters. His energy reverberates around the room, and there is nothing more joyful than seeing him embody a boss bitch in heels one moment and a notorious fuccboi the next. It seems there is no caricature out of his reach, and with a new physicality, vocal quality and costume to match each different role, we meet all the people we could possibly expect to encounter in our twenties, (plus a dildo genie). Kamer goes through a different series of character transformations. Playing herself for the majority of the show (as well as a scarily familiar South African mum), she is tossed from one scenario to the next as she attempts to navigate life after graduating. We watch brilliant physical transitions from her character, notably from regular raving to pill induced partying, and stress instigated hysterics to totally smitten by the boy in the next cubicle. It is fascinating and funny to watch her as she transforms before us, and the final scene is one of familiarity and catharsis.
Twenties is exactly what it sets out to be. It’s minimalistic and somewhat haphazard, honing in intensely on personal experience to capture a specific millennial demographic. But it does an excellent job, and it is undoubtedly the best sketch show that I have seen at this level. I’d recommend it, but it’s all sold out
Twenties by Jake and Ella ran at The Melba Studio in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 28 March — 7 April 2019.