Normal Human Responses
The beauty of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is you don’t know what you’re getting until you arrive.
Going in blind, I was expecting to see stand-up comedy. Instead, I got a comedy troupe doing something fun. Something absurd.
Two elements make up Normal Human Responses.
The first of these is the through line: a researcher (Taylor Griffiths) is conducting research into normal human responses to emotional stimuli.
The second component, featuring the ensemble of Lena Moon, Jess Hagan, Filip Lescault, and Colwyn Buckland, is a series of sketches that build in absurdity.
When a show opens with multimedia, it rarely works. A multimedia opening prevents engagement with the audience. But here it worked for two reasons.
First, it served as a TV-style opening credit that set up the episodic nature of the show.
Second, Taylor Griffiths was in character as she greeted punters and thus a connection was formed.
If I had one suggestion for improvement, the show ended so abruptly that the audience needed to be told “That’s the show” before we applauded.
If you’re looking for stand-up comedy like I was expecting, you won’t find it in Normal Human Responses.
But if you like sketches — think the absurdism of Monty Python meeting the social satire of The Simpsons —an hour with the Dairy Kweenz team will entertain you.
Daniel G. Taylor