Just why the hell do people go for the Carlton Football Club? That’s what the second show from comedian Fiannah de Rue, Here Come the Blues, aims to find out. The show follows three characters as a mysterious voice over (de Rue’s fellow writer Mario Hannah) interrogates their love for this bottom-of-the-ladder football team. There’s Carol, a football-tragic convinced her boys will win again, stuck in the 80s Kristos, and an octogenarian life-long fan who’s calendar only consists of football games.
De Rue describes her ideal audience for the show as Blues fans, footy fans, and everyone else, in that order. While the show is amusing and can be followed by a non-football fan, knowing the game well would really help, and knowing a bit about Carlton would help even more.
For those, like me, who don’t know, the Carlton Football Club was one of the eight founding members of Australian Rules Football. Despite not having much success recently, Carlton is actually one of the most successful teams in the game, especially in the women’s games. A quick scan of Wikipedia gives me plenty of reasons why someone might support this club, but the jokes of Here Come the Blues come from a place of parody, and of love, rather than reason.
It should be noted too that de Rue herself goes for the Blues, though it’s hard to imagine you could get away with writing this show if you went for any other team. De Rue’s characterisation of Carlton fans as delusionally optimistic seems to resonate with the audience. The sketch conceits are solid, with enough plot to carry each ridiculous character through a genuine mini-narrative over the hour. The jokes are sometimes a little obvious and de Rue goes for the sexual joke a few too many times, instead of something that adds another comedic layer to the characters. De Rue is a skillful and charismatic performer however. She also makes the most of her small array of props and costumes, leaning (sometimes literally) into each character with clear physical distinctions and combining it all to emphasise the punchlines. It’s this kind of skill that takes the audience from a giggle to a full-fledged laugh repeatedly.
I suspect the cross-over audience for comedy and football is actually much greater than I first imagined, and if you like to watch the game and have a laugh at your local club’s expense, this is the comedy festival show for you.
Here Come the Blues is on at 7pm at Tasma Terrace until 7 April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available from the comedy festival website, box office or at the venue.