MICF: Ongals – Babbling Comedy

OngalsFour men in supersized toddler playsuits, romp around a stage speaking (mostly) excitable gibberish and behaving like big babies. This is South Korean company Ongals – recipients of awards including a Special Commendation Directors’ Choice Award for their 2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival show. This year they return with Babbling Comedy – a toy box full of clowning, circus tricks and beat boxing.

Not being so familiar with South Korean culture, it’s a bit difficult to explain the Ongals’ exuberant style of performance, much less their irregular painted-on moustaches. Are they a G-rated version of the Tokyo Shock Boys or The Dark Party, with stunts much less likely to cause injury? Or maybe they are anime characters who’ve escaped their celluloid prison?

Regardless, their wide-eyed performance is a stylistic novelty. And, by not looking at all like traditional honk-honk circus clowns, these gents are unlikely to terrorise children. The show gives the Ongals the opportunity to showcase skills including juggling and balloon twisting as they pull a series of objects out of a toy box. Their choice of props puts an original slant on what could otherwise be familiar tricks.

Babbling Comedy is well-performed, uncomplicated fun to suit the inner child. However, unless you’re a huge fan of physical comedy, there isn’t so much for the outer adult. The acts aren’t bound together by any sort of narrative, and certain segments were allowed to play for a bit too long. However, this was their first performance of MICF 2015, and the show might become tighter as the season progresses.

Babbling Comedy features in the main section of the MICF guide and also the Kids Comedy section, and it is appropriately labeled as comedy for ‘all ages’. The show has quality juggling and offers an escape from more serious matters.

A nice bonus for all is the venue; it’s never too early to introduce kids to the atmospheric confines of The Famous Spiegeltent. Sit in the front row and you might even get to be part of the action!

Ongals – Babbling Comedy
The Famous Spiegeltent – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 26 March 2015
Season continues to Sunday 12 April 2015 (No show Mondays)
Bookings: 1300 660 013 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au

For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Ongals

Review: Jason Whyte