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April 19, 2011 / Siobhan Argent

Anyone For Tennis? Prepare to be tuned (review)


Published 19/4/11 at crikey.com.au

Slackers everywhere, rejoice! Andrew Doodson (Doody) and Jason English-Rees (Jase) of Anyone For Tennis? prove that if you have enough talent for it, writing songs about menstruation and being angry at dandelions can really pay off. ATF? is Family Guy meets Flight of the Conchords, a musical comedy show that’s brazenly offensive but coyly executed.

Manic ‘Jase’ and the more laid-back ‘Doody’ are good foils for one another, which is great news for the audience; too much of one or the other would throw the production out of whack. There’s little about this show to suggest it has conformity or structure.

There is no reason, for example, why this pair chose a tennis-themed group name, or why they wear tennis headbands in a kind of mock rebellion against being cool. But when paired with the white shirts and ubiquitous young-male fashion of black jeans, the standard-versus-odd ensemble somehow works as the ATF? uniform.

It’s hard to understand how on earth people can be comfortable on stage until you hear AFT?’s rendition of ‘That Time of the Month’, complete with its ridiculous but somehow fantastic, over-the-top finale. You quickly realise it’s impossible to be shy if you’re a guy voluntarily recounting the wonders of the female reproductive system to a captive audience. Somehow even pizza becomes sexy in ‘Margherita’, while ‘Dandelion’ (my personal favourite) is instantly recognisable as the kind of crap you can only come up with when you’ve been inspired by the amber ale. Speaking of which, even beer gets its own dedicated lovesong. It seems very little subject matter is beyond the sticky comedic fingers of this duo.

After seeing a few comedy shows, you quickly realise the best comedians are the ones who milk a good audience reaction and keep on trucking when a particular joke doesn’t pan out. And since a ticketing error meant AFT?’s audience was only half full, it speaks volumes that they still managed to bring the house down. This is definitely a group with potential.

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