Shit Wrecked: Sydney Comedy Festival

Kate Young
1st May 2023

When covid first hit Australia, one of the initial areas of business that was affected was travel. You couldn’t fly anywhere, you couldn’t drive outta state, hec you couldn’t even walk around the block and cruise ships were either docked or stranded out at sea with their pandemic consumed human cargo. Now please don’t confuse me with someone who indulges in such activities as cruising, I couldn’t think of anything worse! The thought of being stuck on a floating hotel, with nowhere to escape to except your coffin sized room, throw in families with matching ensembles who have scheduled out every minute of the day, bad food, tacky entertainment and cocktails that should “just not be that colour”, if I ever am to find myself aboard …lets just say I’m jumping ship or praying we get hijacked by pirates and not the scary ones, ones that look like Keira Knightly please (was she even a pirate, who knows and sorry I digress).

This week at the Sydney Comedy Festival, Mistresses of Mayhem Sam Andrews (Actor, singer dancer and influencer) and Mel O’Brien (Performer – Mel you were the highlight of Fangirls, singer, dancer and impersonator extraordinaire), Team SMEL??? Gals MAMS??? Invited us all aboard the “Spirit of Tasmania”. Told through a series of musical sketches we get to meet the lovable larrikins that inhabit the ship. Whether it be the “Passengers”, “Crew” or the actual “ Spirit” of Tasmania, both woman hurl all their energy into creating the most chaotic, fun filled, witty and tears of laughter funny production that I’ve had the opportunity of being part of in a very long time.

All it took was two minutes into their opening theme song “Ships are hot!” to be already wiping my face free of tears. Believe me they didn’t stop flowing. Some of the hilarious characters we got to meet along the way were, the spirit of Tasmania herself. A self labeled hag wizard (Mel) who haunts an emo Emma Stone (Sam) and in turn threatens to cast a spell on her, turning her into a balloon animal (with the limpest wand I’ve ever seen) and have her thrown overboard where she must float for eternity on the ocean, this for all the musical geeks out there is song inspired by the Goth likes of Sweeny Todd (or any Danny Elfman creation). There is the Frozen inspired princesses-off between two dueling cruise ship entertainers who were double booked for the same time slot, we have the boy band inspired number about “Fuckbois” who try to gaslight their girlfriends, there is the couple celebrating their 5 year anniversary in the buffet hall who have differing opinions on the idle gift to give their partner, there’s even a couple of bro’s spending some well earned getaway time together away from their jobs as transit offices. The highlight for me however was the duo between Halsey and Bjork. It was the most absurd thing I have ever witnessed, Mel took to Halsey’s cursive singing/talking style and dialed it up to 1000, it was so over the top and joyously stupid you couldn’t understand a single word (I understand this is the narrative of the joke) but juxtaposed with Sam’s Bjork (who hands down is up there with Kristen Wiigs impersonation, which is pretty impressive for someone who said they only listened to “Its all so quite” once in prep for the skit), it’s a surreal moment that I would forever love to be suspended in. I was doubled over in laughter at this point.

Sam and Mel are both very talented not only in their abilities as performs but the fact that they write and compose everything that is performed on and off stage, is mind blowing. Everything they do is entertaining, they are like kids at a birthday party who have had too much sugar, singing, dancing and physical comedy… do these girls even have an off button???

Shit Wrecked captures the Aussie spirit, with lovable characters just trying to live their best lives; no matter the hand they’ve been dealt. It’s a true testimony to the strength of character we have as a nation. We are always up for laugh and are the first to poke fun at ourselves. Mel and Sam take a lot of care with their characters, even though they are taking the mickey they never cross into the territory of being disrespectful or malicious, which is an art in itself. If you ever get a chance to see these ladies live, do… because I feel like big things are in the future for this two and if they live by their own mantra …Not to let anyone cum on your dreams…maybe all theirs will too.