The opening night gala of the Sydney Comedy Festival at the State Theatre was a glimpse of the coming run of the festival, offering a dozen or so introductions to the many comedians and acts to be featured across Sydney-wide venues until May 16. The guests were in the fine hands of most capable host Randy Feltface, the bug-eyed glorified sock puppet animated by master puppeteer Heath McIvor.
Among the reflections on genitalia, spiders, COVID, farts and administrating LSD to ants, there was a sense of jubilation amongst many of the performers, some from overseas or “The People’s Republic of Victoria,” clearly delighted to try out new (or not so new) material on a receptive audience.
The comedians this year are every people who want to be, and need to be seen: gay, straight, deliberately bogan, all irreverent. Talents to look out for: Just about all of them. However, Chris Ryan, a spiky-haired mom with nothing left to prove, and Cassie Workman, a transgender woman who avoided sports in high school by running (that’s sport, right?) to get high on the beach (fresh air!).
As each act had about 10 minutes, there was little prospect of losing the audience, and in any case Randy Feltface is a masterful puppet who nearly stole the show. He also reveled in supporting everyone on stage, including affectionately nuzzling the crew members who materialised to aid transportation, proving what a gracious and dashing googly-eyed puppet he is.
Sydney Comedy Festival runs until May 16 at various venues across the city. For more info: www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au
Reviewed by Olga Azar