Delectable Shelter

Shelley Blake

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL: Acclaimed independent theatre company The Hayloft Project turn their hand to a black comedy about white ascendancy.
Delectable Shelter
This witty, black and intelligent performance is the latest brain child of one of Melbourne’s most exciting theatre companies, The Hayloft Project. Taking us into an dimly lit underground bunker (the characters’ hide out from a war above), Delectable Shelter is a fantastically delightful experience.

White elitism and First World worries are highlighted through the cleverly written and sarcastic dialogue between rich suburban couple, Reginald (Anthony Mackey) and Biddy (Yesse Spence) and their obviously inadequate son Grayson (Thomas Conroy) and his wife (Simone Page Jones). The holder of knowledge in the world below is the cleverly entertaining master of the shelter, Thor (Josh Price).

As the characters delve into the ‘not to worries’ and ignore the severity of their apparent situation, the performance makes an obvious satirical comment on the ways of the 21st century and the emptiness of that which we hold dearest, such as solariums and squeaky clean images.

The characters’ naïvety about the outside world is highlighted throughout this engaging and hilarious show. Their blatant daftness is contrasted with the darkness of the underground; all culminating in a purely hilarious gospel choir belting out 80’s love ballads.

Left to their own procreating devices to generate the new world and prepare to take on the few humans who are rumoured to have survived – the Chinese – Delectable Shelter is drearily insightful, entertaining in its obscenities, and sits very much outside the realms of political correctness.

A welcome darkness in this year’s Comedy Festival, writer and director Benedict Hardie has taken another refreshing risk with Delectable Shelter. The result of this illogical, 350 year mission of repopulating a post-Armageddon earth is seriously impressive (and Roxette has never sounded so good).

The Hayloft Project presents
Delectable Shelter
Theatre Works
March 31 – April 17

Melbourne International Comedy Festival March 30 - April 24 For more coverage of the festival see our dedicated MICF mini-site.

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Shelley Blake is a reviewer for ArtsHub.