Structured as a conversation with God as they try to convince him to send them to heaven, Deep Heat’s Chomping at the Bit at the Factory Theatre was brilliant. Ruby Blinkhorn and Kate Bubalo delivered sketches that were topical and hilarious outside of their relevance to the zeitgeist, with impressions, musical numbers and even an audience member forced to cut hair.
Standout sketches from the show included an impression of JK Rowling, who “loves the LGB community”, with an accompanying queer Dumbledore parading around the stage to prove how she even included us in her stories! Dumbledore alternated between “yass”, “slay” and “RuPaul Dragrace” to emphasise how in-touch and genuine Rowling’s connection to the queer community is. We also get a disturbingly accurate impression of Phoebe Waller-Bridge questioning the dominance of monogamy in James Cameron’s Avatar, wherein she wondered (with side-eyes to the audience, Fleabag style) why out of all possible romantic structures available in an alien universe, monogamy is the go-to.
As is the case with all good comedy, under the ha-ha’s there were nuanced points to be made. As Kate professed that she felt overwhelmed with the state of the world, amid climate anxieties and patriarchal oppression, Ruby suggested that they volunteer somewhere, or donate funds. Kate revealed that no, she thinks a makeover will fix it. Funny, yes, but also a direct nod at the way capitalism creates problems and offers temporary solutions under the false pretence of making us feel better. Other nuanced issues like the body positivity movement and celeb PR couplings were considered, with a particularly funny scene of Kim K and Pete Davidson at the Met Gala, wherein Pete continually forgot his line of “I am Pete.”
It was refreshing to see such a localised show after years of pandemics that forced us to watch big budget Netflix specials, and the nods at local Sydney towns and suburbs created a much more personal atmosphere. The literal proximity was also helpful, especially during the RCT (random Covid testing) sketch, where an audience member was dragged from their seat and subject to a legitimate Covid test.
Despite the occasional instances of wrong audio playing, Ruby and Kate knew how to roll with the punches and keep things fresh. Whether it was pop culture or politics, they cleverly combined humour and cultural commentary to produce something best described as highly entertaining.
Despite God refusing to allow them entry to Heaven, on the note that they were just “bad people”, Chomping at the Bit was heavenly indeed. A wonderful concoction of absurdity and hot takes, I’m sure we’ll be seeing Deep Heat in the comedy scene for many years to come.