Marney McQueen And Hair To The Throne

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As the Melbourne International Comedy Festival draws to a close, the chameleon comedian Marney McQueen treated her fans to a memorable night of laughs and cabaret at The Famous Spiegletent.

McQueen plays Rosa the Russian Beautician, a bikini waxer to the stars that offers beauty tips, advice for the broken-hearted and encouragement for clients whose careers are failing. Taking to the stage in tight pink and leopard print jumpsuit and mullet hair do, McQueen belts out powerful and hilarious ballads about her experiences running a beauty salon in Balaclava.

After training at NIDA, McQueen studied with Barry Humphries in New York while he was performing as Dame Edna Everage on Broadway in 2010. As a long-time fan of Humphries myself, his total characterisation shines through in McQueen’s performance, except she replaces “possums” with “honies”.

While the character of Rosa is very well developed and McQueen’s voice is second to none, the show relied heavily on puns and punch lines, rather than letting the hilarity of the character speak for itself. She also engages with the audience on multiple occasions. It may just be my fear of audience participation that’s making me bias, but the jokes centered on public humiliation rather than McQueen’s raw talents.

Her assistant and ‘master of the organ’ (piano that is) Boris Longshlongadonski also made a charming and hilarious addition to Rosa’s show. However there were some slightly alarming moments when he tried to take over the show with a little musical interlude or a few knock knock jokes. It’s unclear whether this was unscripted, but judging by Rosa’s insistence to get back of track I’m guessing it wasn’t.

Clearly a crowd favourite and a wickedly talented woman, Marney McQueen put on a wiley and hilarious show; a fitting end to the final week of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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