Review: MONO at His Majesty's Theatre

Hilarious show of monologues showcases three of Australia's best entertainers

By: May. 19, 2023
Review: MONO at His Majesty's Theatre

Monologues have been a central part of theatre for as long as there has been theatre, so what better way for three expert entertainers to show off their skills? Written by famed comedy writer Angus FitzSimons, MONO delivers nine superb monologues by three brilliant comedians to make you laugh and smile, whilst providing the rare opportunity to see three masters of comedy and entertainment meeting right at the junction of the two.

Angus FitzSimons has an impressive history of comedy writing, and therefore it's little surprise to walk into the theatre and hear laughter ringing around, although in this instance the house lights were still up and the stage unlit. The free program offers plenty of FitzSimons' signature wit and warms the audience perfectly for the show to come. Indeed, the individual skits, each around 10 minutes long, are perfectly curated to warm the audience as the jokes quickly increase in frequency. There are very few props in MONO besides a lectern that features in a majority of the sketches, and therefore the show is very much about the words and delivery. Needless to say with these three talents that they use the words to create every scene and feeling to set up the laughs.

Emily Taheny opens the show as the headmistress of St Garbadines, gently leading the audience from what could be the sort of speech a headmistress gives to quickly bringing the laughs. Taheny is a talented character actor and shows off her many skills throughout the show as the headmistress, a new age spiritualist, and a drunk mum at a wedding. The way she delivers each joke suits her characters perfectly, and she ensures each punchline hits truly.

Review: MONO at His Majesty's Theatre

John Wood, a giant of Australian drama, slots into a comedic personality effortlessly. Indeed, it may be the way the audience recognises him from his dramatic roles that makes his comedy that bit more valuable. Wood's characters- a poet, an auctioneer, and a policeman- are all driven by the character being unaware of the absurdity of the situation they're in, and Wood delivers each character perfectly.

Max Gillies is a legend of Australian comedy and is well known for his character acting, however the show loses nothing when his first role (a conductor) is silent. In a show that relies on nothing but the comedians and their skills, Gillies' physical comedy is simply flawless and sets perfectly against Angus FitzSimons' narration. Gillies then goes on to play a priest delivering a truly hilarious sermon, before delivering another silent character touring an art gallery, with the voice in Gillies' head providing narration. Again, Gillies blends physical comedy with perfect comic timing.

Writer, director and narrator Angus FitzSimons gives each character little beyond a costume to work with, and each performer well and truly makes it work. The show is easily able to lean on the talents of each performer, and the rapid fire jokes leave the audience truly breathless at times. Particularly refreshing (and rare) in a pure comedy show, there is very little in the way of expletives, with each performer using their array of talents to bring 90 minutes of entertainment. It is such a treat to be able to see three entertainers at the tops of their fields, and these three will leave you laughing and smiling from this show of pure comedy.

MONO is at His Majesty's Theatre until May 21st. Tickets and more information (and a few more neat quips) from Mono: The Show.

Tickets available from His Majesty's Theatre.

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