Review: The Anti-Experts Guide To The Pandemic

Colin Firth of The Chaser and James Schloeffel of The Shovel call out the malarkey of 2020 in The Anti-Experts Guide To The Pandemic. (Image source: Adelaide Fringe)

By Nikita Skuse | @nikita_skuse

Satirical news publications, The Chaser and The Shovel, have joined forces for this year’s Adelaide Fringe to recap the mayhem that was 2020 in The Anti-Experts Guide To The Pandemic.

Charles Firth, co-founder of The Chaser and James Schloeffel, founder of The Shovel, present 50 minutes of satirical comedy.

The politically charged performance is targeted towards the conspiracy theorists, politicians and public figures of Australia and the world who have had their fair share of ideas about COVID-19.

No one is safe from Firth and Schloeffel’s scrutiny, not even our Prime Minister. ScoMo is the butt of many of the pair’s jokes. Straight off the bat, Firth asks us whether he should care that his female friend’s house just burnt down. He says he simply can’t decide on his own, he’s not fortunate enough to have a wife like Jenny to let him know.

This opening joke completely sets the tone for the next 49 minutes. The pair’s commentary on the events of the past year oozes with wit. The laughter, cheers and racket coming from the audience is a clear indication it is received well.

Firth and Schloeffel use a slideshow to accompany their comedy. Their use of images and video adds the perfect punch to their one-liners.

Audience members have the opportunity to be involved in the show too, with the pair running a training program for everyone attending to become media advisors to the Prime Minister. This segment is a great way of getting guests out of their seats and invested in their storytelling. It even leads to a standing ovation from the crowd – albeit involuntary.

The Cornucopia at Gluttony hosts the show and the size of the audience inside is quite the juxtaposition to the show’s theme. Two men talking about the woes of a global pandemic to a couple hundred people inside one tent seems slightly ironic, but also, most likely unintentionally, works as a measure of how far we have come since this time last year. It should be noted that the venue does take the reasonable precautions however. Every second seat is marked ‘do not sit’ in order to keep the appropriate social-distancing measures in place.

The Anti-Experts Guide To The Pandemic is not suited to anyone with extreme left or right-wing ideologies. The pair take a dig at everything from Christianity to anti-vaxxers to the Liberal party. Basically, if you idolise either Pete Evans or Scott Morrison, don’t be surprised if this show offends. 

The show is, however, perfectly suited to those who’ve spent the last 12 months frustrated with how our country has handled the pandemic and disturbed by those who deny its existence. Firth and Schloeffel package up the ignorance surrounding COVID-19 and deliver it in a way that is smart, crisp and that truly makes audiences laugh at what has been such an unfortunately laughable year.

The Anti-Experts Guide To The Pandemic is running at Gluttony until March 7 2021. 

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