Closing night of the show, Seymour had an air of avidity. I wasn’t sure what to expect of my first revue (shocking and disappointing it took me so long to go to one, I know), especially of one I flaked on my audition for (sorry Ann).
Led by first-time directors Ann Ding and Shon Ho, the cast of RoboPoC brought to life an alternate universe where a robot (RoboPoC) attempts to connect to young people and diversity through gaining ‘PC points’, in order to set in motion the sinister Project WOKE (World Operation Keynesian Equity).
The diverse cast carried a revue in which the reality of the experience of people of colour were encapsulated through an intrepid approach, fearless and yet charming.
Natali Caro gave a stellar performance as Pauline Hanson doppelgänger, Paula Hanstrom, in the Ethnic Swamp. Her accent, attitude and dexterous placement of ‘I don’t like it’ had laughs raining through the theatre. Elijah Abraham was all too relatable as an adolescent unhappy with a diet of the ethnic variety. Sophia Chung and Swetha Das acting as his parents to tell him the way/purpose/meaning of life was in fact rice, brought chuckles to the crowd, only to be brought to hysterics as they showered the audience with grains of rice as the teenager shouts with realisation, “GIVE ME RICE OR GIVE ME DEATH”. Elijah was a standout again in the second act as a racist werewolf, unable to stop himself from howling bigotry under the power of the full moon. Sophia Chung as Dr. Phil with costuming caused laughs before the first line was delivered. Angela Prendergast as Gold Logie Winner Scott Cam also needs a special mention.
RoboPoC really shone in its astute punchlines. I don’t think there wasn’t a skit that didn’t bring some kind of a giggle from my mouth. The rollcall of a class of not-so-people-of-colour brought raucous laughter due to its complete bizarreness and over-the-top-ness of the mispronunciation of names, as well as the Restaurant skit where an ethnic pair decide to delve into new bland cuisine (with a special appearance from Salt Bae), demolishing the food which “tastes just like paper”, a prop which was plate of mayonnaise I later found out.
Closing night, and the opening dance number was still out of sync. Some audio-visuals were confusing, and some skits I wish were given more time. However, the mishaps were minuscule and easily forgotten.
RoboPoC a bold, and oh so very not delicate show. With an ending number of Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, I have to admit I got a bit teary. Seeing a bunch of students trumping stereotypes (haha, see what I did there?) and bringing to show the facet of people of colour through hilarious inversion of experience, got me a little emotional.
Walking out of the show to grains of rice on the floor, I sure as heck didn’t expect that.