Never has there been Australian comedy gold like this.
With golden soils, wealth for toil and a home girt by sea, Australian culture better watch out for the rising, shining likes of ocker stars Dazza and Keif as they bring their streetside hiphop extravaganza Dazza and Keif Go Viral to our stages and our news channels. Aiming to become social media icons for their totes kool trix and skillz, these two are thrust into vicarious fame that they know how to manage as well as their Instagram marketing: not at all. In an hour of side-splitting Aussie humour that would give Chris Lilley a run for his money, Dazza and Keif give us a snapshot of the life of the misguided bogan dream, obscured by sexual urges, identity crises, left-footed breakdances and man’s biggest mind-boggler: feminism.
Written, directed and starring our devilish duo Keely Windred and Danni Ray, Dazza and Keif Go Viral is non-stop slapstick comedy at its finest. Stepping between intimate moments of brainstorming to poorly executed dance routines, the contour of the production is always snapping with energy and crisp with cohesion, never once dropping character, theme or plot, all the while giving the audience a little bit of everything and more than what they asked for. Fitted with trance anthems – or, as we like to call them, absolute bangers – and dressed in their 90s neon dancewear attire that almost make them look like a couple of try-hards raiding their mum’s old disco Pilates box in the attic, every moment in this show is perfectly placed and perfectly dressed. Their inexplicable aggressive attitude, disturbing sexual gestures and harsh Aussie accents carry the drawling, brash and near-incoherent stereotype of our bogan pride with such convincing parody that it is almost uncanny we allow ourselves to be that way. Stepping away from the Australianisms, however, there is a long conversation on feminism happening throughout, not only by the exaggerated pantomime nature of our two leading males being played by presenting females, but with the nature of the piece exposing their premature outlook on what a woman wants and the reciprocal dissonance of giving that to them. When a woman is introduced into the situation, our duo loses their “cool” and instead is replaced by a fumbling bundle of insecurity and awkwardness, highlighting the comedic nature of a boy’s mindset and execution. With subtle political insight masked by accessible theatre and writing, guided by genius dramaturg Keziah Warner, Dazza and Keif Go Viral is a timeless piece of Australian theatre that fits in the same realm, and dare I say to the same standard, as iconic show Kath and Kim.
Performers Keely Windred and Danni Ray deserve nothing but absolute praise. Taking the idea of the entrepreneurial bogan and face-painting with their ideals, traits and values, Windred and Ray become the kids from Unit 2 who always blast their non-lyrical rave music and play their outdated Xbox 360 in the garage while talking about how cool it would be to smoke weed but neglect to acknowledge the apparent low-key fear of it instilled in them by the lifelong omnipresence of their mothers. Windred plays Dazza, the hugely cocky big boy whose only job is to “win” the female genitalia and make money doing it; Windred’s constant calling over of “nah, nah, mate, nah” makes her Dazza a large and familiar energy that captivates the room for all the wrong reasons, ultimately winning the audience over in his moment of transition when he admits his brotherly love and admiration for his best friend. Best friend Keif is played by Ray with the perfect matching energy to his Dazza; being such a contrast as the down-trodden, petite younger friend who keeps trying to be as cool as his obviously-cooler bestie, Ray’s performance creates a special bond of sympathy with the audience, making her moments of “poor little me” surprisingly and delightfully hearty. Together, there is no other duo as hard to imitate, as their constant bouncing off each other both verbally and physically makes them stronger and more conducive than an atom bond.
In the intimate space that is backroom Coopers Malthouse, the set is clear enough to give space and busy enough to give scene. With a couch upstage centre decorated by nuances of teenage lifestyle and litter, we immediately get the world of the hooligan’s homely abode. A TV screen sits above it, used as a convention of time passing by its transitional moments of news updates as recorded and performed by Windred and Ray themselves in a hilarious parallel perspective of the situation. Sound cues are smack-on, lighting states do nothing but provide, and the technologies are precisely executed, proving a strong stage management team behind the desk to make this show function. The only detracting issue was that of a microphone falling out of the socket of one of the performers, causing a devastating scratch and ended up leading to not using the audio for most of the show; however, their booming voices and fantastic energy made up for anything that could have been lost to the point where it could have been argued as better and more engaging. A minor and easily fixed issue, nonetheless.
So don’t even worry about it, bruv: no matter if you don’t got those hella sickaz moves or dropping beatz, you’re still a valuable person. Whether that be a sociological value or an entertainment value, that’s for your audience to find out; but that’s also for you to appreciate and love about and within yourself. Strewth, aye, mate, haha, yolo, lol, yeet. Something like that. Yeah.
Images: Theresa Harrison