FRINGE – Counterproductives – Mr and Mrs – Bakehouse Theatre – 3.5K

By Julia Loipersberger

Everybody has been through that awkward experience late at night at a dinner party – everyone has had a little too much to drink and all of a sudden one of the couples starts bickering in the corner. It starts off quite funny and somewhat light-hearted, but all of a sudden sarcastic asides about sexual performance and snide remarks about the quality of somebody’s cooking are being made, and all of the guests start to feel uncomfortable about being engaged in a ‘no-longer-completely-joking’ domestic dispute.

‘Mr and Mrs’, the Australian premiere of a show by stand-up comics Liz Stephens and Aaron Counter – who are both actually married, to each other – is a lot like a repeat of one of those awkward evenings. Commencing with video footage of an ‘actual attendance’ at counselling sessions, the show was a remarkably candid view into the challenges, joys, frustrations and difficulties of being married stand-up comedians.

Everybody in the audience was able to relate to the humorous tales of married woe shared by Liz and Aaron. At times a bit stilted, it was apparent that not all of the jokes had come from their ‘real life’, which gave the appearance of the performers trying a bit too hard. Similarly, a lot of the show revolved around those awkward scenarios about who is allowed to win arguments and whether Liz is always right, which made me squirm a little in my seat. Nonetheless, most of the content of the show was truly funny, and made for a genuinely enjoyable hour.

As Tolstoy once said, ‘Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way’. If the familiarity and hilarity of the troubles narrated by Liz and Aaron is anything to go by – such Aaron specially picking a comfortable sofa because he knew he would spend a lot of time on it, Liz being asked if she was a victim of domestic abuse because nobody could believe anybody could be clumsy enough to fall down stairs AND walk into a door within two weeks – then this must be a very happy marriage indeed. Certainly it is a very enjoyable performance to attend.

Kryztoff rating  3.5K

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