Whether it’s turning away boats of migrants or continued reports of Nauru refugees being brutalised, Australia’s humanitarian reputation is more than slightly tainted on the international stage.
Meanwhile, right-wing groups like the United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia continue to gain popularity. So when scanning through the Brisbane Comedy Fest events, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who raised an eyebrow when noticing the True Australian Patriots.
As you may have guessed, a Comedy Festival set which is predominantly attended by those you’d loosely describe as middle-class is aimed at sending up the members of these extremist groups; as opposed to a sincere demonstration from those whose Australian heritage goes back a handful of generations and are scared of change.
Comedians Anne Edmonds (Les), Damien Power (Gary) and Greg Larsen (Steve) have already been creating a bit of a stir in character with their series of videos online, so it was with great curiosity that I wondered how they would adapt it for an hour-long show.
The set (18 March) opened similarly to their first video, a brash display of loosely choreographed posturing, adrenaline-driven rock music amid a sea of Australian flags. If you were expecting the humanising, insightful satire of ‘Four Lions’ (2010), then you may come away disappointed.
This is a show with the structure and planning you’d expect from these three, fictional characters and is as loosely structured, contradictory and shambolic as it gets. Once you realise that, it all falls into place.
In many ways it’s a sketch show as the characters cycle through unrelated skits taking us from PowerPoint presentations, to a fashion show amid an ever confusing love triangle (or square), which becomes the focus of the proceedings as the night progressed.
There are some hilarious moments such as the context-less bird impression segment or the traumatising and ridiculous scene which followed it, and is funniest when sending up the halal sympathising left-wing they play to.
By the end of it you’re almost in a stupor trying to make sense of the chaotic carnage that unfolded in front of you, and just as you sit there trying to take it all in, something unexpected happens that expedites your decision to leave.
It’s not a show that will change the world or your views, but contains more than enough laughs to go check out.
True Australian Patriots plays at the Brisbane Powerhouse until 20 March.