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Tough Titties - Meraki Arts Bar (NSW)

Created by Kristelle Zibara & Renae Valastro. Presented by Queen Hades Productions as part of the Femeraki Festival.


Reviewed by Juliana Payne

Meraki Arts Bar, Darlinghurst

Until 15th July, 2023


3.5 STARS


Adult: $35 Concession: $30

Limited season, for two weeks only. July 4th – 15th.

Tuesday – Sat @ 7:30pm; Sat 15th @ 1pm

Live post show Q&A podcast with Theatre Thoughts on Tuesday 11th


- Queen Hades serves up inclusive and empowering humour, ensuring that under-represented people feel seen and heard. -


The Queen Hades team have returned to regale even more audiences with an evening of uproarious laughter, clever wit, and a refreshing take on life's absurdities. With a combination of all-too-relatable scenarios, classic comedic moments, and absurdist extremes, delivered with infectious energy, Queen Hades has the audience in stitches from start to finish.


The format shows they are worthy inheritors of that fine Australian tradition of satirical sketch comedy, tracing the line of inheritance from The Mavis Bramston Show through to The Paul Hogan Show, The D Generation, Fast Forward and Big Girls Blouse. Tough Titties however is very much advanced in its political and social awareness, with a conscious and very welcome emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, and intersectionality. The air was thick with social politics and the audience breathed it in deeply and gladly. We don’t often hear the words ‘feminist comedy’ used in the same sentence, but there were laughs galore in the audience.



Photos supplied by Queen Hades Productions


The sketch creators displayed an impressive range of comedic formats and styles. They employed all the classic tactics: vaudeville two-handers, slapstick, absurdism and of course wonderful targeted satire to skewer the patriarchy and capitalism and the many, many ills they have inflicted on our society. Queen Hades’ performers are versatile and skilled comedians, with energetic physicality. They lampoon all the usual human frailties of vanity, pride, greed, and ignorance, with a strong social justice lens that the audience loved. I don’t want to give away any punchlines but think of a sketch where a very fem person drinks a VB on a dare and transforms into an ocker racist homophobe in a high viz coat. Or another one where a suffragist comes into the future only to be abused by a haggard weary woman saying, “oh so it’s you that I’ve got to thank for having to work in hospitality!”


Queen Hades reminds us of the power of laughter and its ability to brighten even the darkest of days.

The sketches were interspersed with periodical spots of performance art such as poetry, song and – wait for it – even a political juggling act. You just must see it to appreciate it. These ranged from sweet and earnest to hilarious and outrageous, and it was great to see people who might not usually occupy the main stage. Bravo to Constance Halstead, Almitra Mavalvala, Linda Chong (killer poetry!), Frankie Fearce, Eliva, Luisa Galloway, Emma O’Sullivan, Kristelle Zibara And Renae Valastro.


While sometimes raw and underdeveloped, the writing overall hits its marks. A few slips and blips in delivery could be tightened up, and tech-wise they could ensure the music doesn’t drown out the dialogue, especially in such a small room, it doesn’t need to be as loud as it was. The audience didn’t seem to care though, and the woo-hoos rang out far into the night.


Whether it's dissecting the pitfalls of TikTok or poking fun at the intricacies of modern dating, Queen Hades serves up inclusive and empowering humour, ensuring that under-represented people feel seen and heard. Queen Hades reminds us of the power of laughter and its ability to brighten even the darkest of days.

 

CAST Monica Kumar

Laura Lees

Sophie Dougals

Emma Throssell

Sophea Op

Sam Walsh


CREATIVES

Director, Co-Writer & Co-Creator: Kristelle Zibara

Assistant Director, Co-Writer & Co-Creator: Renae Valastro

Artistic Director of Queen Hades Production, Head Producer: Margaret Thanos

Producer: Rachael Adamson

Stage Manager: Mollie Webb

Designer: Gia Cohen

Sound Designer: Sam Cheng

Lighting Designer: Paris Bell


Tough Titties features a rotating roster of talent across the season including: MONICA KUMAR, LAURA LEES, SOPHIE DOUGLAS, EMMA THROSSELL, SOPHEA OP, SAM WALSH, CONSTANCE HALSTEAD, ALMITRA MAVALVALA, LINDA CHONG, FRANKIE FEARCE, ELIVA, LUISA GALLOWAY, EMMA O’SULLIVAN, KRISTELLE ZIBARA, RENAE VALASTRO.





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