In the dilapidated, art-deco ‘Missing Persons’ room of the Nicholas Building off Swanston Street, I sit amongst a full house of audience members awaiting the ‘Juicy’ duo comprising of JG and Lucy. The audience is clearly made up of friends and family of the cast, and their support proves immediate as the show begins. Despite the slightly uncomfortable wooden bench seating and cramped atmosphere, there is an energy of anticipation.
Lucy and JG begin the show by bickering in the hallway about how they will begin the performance. Immediately, their banter is witty and fast-paced, and the minute they burst into the room, the audience joins them. For the next hour, the duo perform a variety of sketches loosely tied to one another, before switching back to their ‘real life’ personas to review the successes and failures of the sketches.
Most of the sketches bring out the great chemistry of Lucy and JG. It’s clear this duo has worked together before, and they know the rhythms of each other well enough to improvise and nail it. However, some sketches are drawn out, with jokes that take too long to reach their peak. A few of the sketches also use similar characters and tropes, perhaps the show could benefit from more pronounced differences in characterisation.
Despite this, the audience is loving it, hanging off every word, and laughing enough to make the comedians break character. This happens a few times and takes me out of the world of the sketch, more focus on staying in character would be helpful. However Lucy and JG are excellent at working with audience participation, and these are the moments that impress me the most. Other highlights include the private ‘asides’ between the comedians that we can clearly hear, which add a clever self-awareness to the performance itself. As Lucy and JG began their comedic craft in the Melbourne University Comedy Revue Board (MUDCRABS), there is an intellectual wit and high level to their jokes.
The concept of the show — whether the ‘Juicy’ duo of Lucy and JG are breaking up or not — could benefit from some more clarity. The centrality of this concept becomes lost at times and is brought back sporadically, which is a little confusing. But once they are in their stride, Lucy and JG are comedians to watch. They cleverly balance elaborate character acting with self-aware criticism, and it works. As they bounce between evil vampire to ditzy shop assistant and back to themselves, they prove themselves to be skilled comedians.
Whilst ‘Juicy’ sometimes feels as though Lucy and JG are still testing out their material, their performance is full of wit, spontaneity and skill. I can tell they are having great fun on stage, and as an audience member, I can’t help but be swept away with them. As they leave the stage without bowing (“JG thinks it’s pretentious”), Lucy and JG set the bar high for student-written comedy.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Play Right? by Juicy ran in the Nicholas Building in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 13 — 14 April 2019.