Texas-born and Melbourne-raised, Jude Perl has something of a hybrid accent. Her new MICF show is also an unusual mix for the ear, one of stand-up comedy and music. She’s got form here, having won Green Room Awards for her original songs. In Let’s Hang Out Perl took us on a musical tour through the eccentric workings of her brain and piano-playing fingers, earning vigorous laughter along the way.
Some may feel that the 7.00pm weeknight slot isn’t ideal for comedy, as did Mark Watson. However, now we have a second example of how a good show will do well at any old time. Despite the early hour limiting our (ahem) conviviality, Perl skilfully and regularly extracted a good volume of laughter from a crowd that was far too small for the quality of her talents.
Perl would use a standup section on some issue to lead in to an appropriate song. One highlight considered the erratic nature of her diet, followed by a tune from the point of view of her stomach. Musical offerings had surprises to rival those in her stand-up, having blues inflections or evocative changes of tempo.
Perl also considered topics such as her ambivalence towards children and the reactions that provoked in others, and always put a fresh slant on the material. She often had an edge to her lyrics, and hearing unsanitised opinions, such as on friends abandoning her to start their own family, grabbed our attention all the better to wring out laughs.
Much of the show’s appeal lay in the surprises of her material, so I won’t ruin that here. I will say that the nuttier the topics became, the funnier she was, and nothing showed that better than a delightful song to close the evening.
One appeal of a festival is the opportunity to check out some unusual styles and performers you haven’t seen before. My reward for doing this was seeing a show that kept a silly grin on my face throughout. Taking up Jude Perl’s suggestion Let’s Hang Out might just be the safest festival bet you’ve never heard of. Especially for the ‘Tightarse Tuesday’ tickets at a lousy $20 – you won’t get more bang for your buck at MICF 2018.
Jude Perl: Let’s Hang Out
The Tower – The Coopers Malthouse, Sturt Street, Southbank
Performance: Thursday 12 April 2018 – 7.00pm
Season continues to 22 April 2018
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Jude Perl (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte