Comedy review: Tight Mums, Loose Units, Trades Hall, Melbourne Fringe Festival

Hysterical tongue-in-cheek Tight Mums dishing the dirt on married life and divorce. 
Tight Mums. Four women dressed in orange or black and red. One is seated, another is crouching over and the other two standing.

After performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year, the Tight Mums quartet was back with a fast-paced 60-minute showcase of comedy and song at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. 

Comedians Pradeepa Timmermans, Marilyn Leder, Lisa Lee, and Aarti Vincent embrace the eye rolls and embarrassed glares from their children and hubbies to give us unfiltered insight into the world of motherhood and marriage. Their comedic prowess transcend the cliché observations one normally associates with being a mum (such as household chores, school pick-ups, cooking dinners) instead, diving headfirst into tales of raunchy sex, dating and ripping bongs. After all, these women are loose units! 

While two women revel in happy marriages, the other two are enjoying the liberation of their divorces. Each woman takes to the stage to reflect on her own journey: dissecting the pressures that came with maintaining the façade of the perfect wife, the ups and downs of intimacy after a breakup, and enduring the (sometimes) suffocating role of motherhood.

This show would garner laughter, whether you’ve been married for 20 years or are newly divorced. The sets range from Timmermans’s quest for cannabis liberation, Lee’s dating struggles as a ‘good Asian girl’; Leder’s hilarious rendition of Lily Allen’s ‘Not Fair’; or Vincent’s rather unconventional yogi wisdom and religious quips.

These women are not just observers of life’s mundane moments; they are bold, audacious spirits – unafraid to embrace the wild side. 

There is something utterly refreshing about Tight Mums, Loose Units. Blending wit with cultural idiosyncrasies, these women explore the often ignored and unspoken realities of being a mother and wife – the kind of experiences rarely seen in mainstream media, especially from multicultural perspectives. Their misadventures resonate with authenticity and humour, challenging societal norms while celebrating the beauty of imperfection. 

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Occasionally, a few jokes fail to deliver the punch their setups promised, creating a disconnect with the audience and an atmosphere far from electric. Yet, amid the hit and miss one-liners, the performance finds its saving grace in the clever renditions of pop hits (think Meredith Brooks) and unapologetic dance moves. With some more stage time, these talented women are on the cusp of shaping their act into a flawless, knock-out masterpiece.

Tight Mums, Loose Units
Trades Hall
Melbourne Fringe Festival

Created by Tight Mums
Writers and Performers: Pradeepa Timmermans, Marilyn Leder, Lisa Lee and Aarti Vincent

Tight Mums, Loose Units was performed as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival from 4- 8 October 2023.

It will tour to Geelong Comedy Festival on Friday October 27 at The Brewery. 

Caitlin is a Melbourne-based writer whose work has been published in Australia’s Style Magazine, ArtsHub, Lip Mag, Intrepid Times, The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, among others.