This year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been showcasing some astoundingly talented female comedians, among them are Nat Harris and Hannah Camilleri, who have solo and duo shows in the program. Their duo piece, Pét-Nat + Han ah Chocolat, was (as the program prescribed) ‘un petit snack of effervescent and carefree comedy’. Their sketches were deliciously, wickedly funny as they moved between melodramas, first addressing the audience from a ridiculously chaotic plaza reopening. Nat Harris shone in this sketch as a smug yet hapless clipboard-wielding official; the scene was set for the following entertainment, a series of uncomfortably funny skits, ranging from a school awards ceremony led by squeakily pious teachers to an inn run by lascivious goblins.
In each of the sketches, the characters bounced off each other expertly, fully invested in the parodies. We were thrown into the action as a bunch of rowdy students and a group of unsuspecting inn guests. Harris and Camilleri had you on the edge of your seat, waiting for their next gag, which, like much great comedy, was often awkward and relatable.
As a teacher, I have to say I found the sketch of the lopsided, frumpy teachers simply hilarious. They were ruthlessly irresponsible and total martyrs as they staggered around the stage in one part, feigning sickness only to rise bolt upright and squeal ‘YEAR EIGHTS!!!!!!’ when no one in the audience came to their aid. The strength of Harris’s and Camilleri’s skits was definitely the way they immersed the audience in the absurdity of the scenarios. The costumes also played a part in bringing to life the array of histrionic characters, from the goblins in hooded velvet cloaks to the teachers in dowdy sweaters and ragged wigs. The mashup of the comedians’ voices and electronica between each sketch also enhanced the pacey fun of the show.
Pét-Nat + Han ah Chocolat was a wonderful piece of comedy that reasserted Harris and Camilleri as the queens of cringe after winning last year’s Golden Gibbo Award at the MICF. A fabulously entertaining morsel of light relief after a COVID-restricted few years for Melbourne’s comedy scene.
Nat Harris & Hannah Camilleri/ Pét-Nat + Han ah Chocolat
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Nat Harris & Hannah Camilleri will be performing until 24 April 2022