On a chilly Thursday night in Marrickville’s Factory Theatre, 50 people were bundled into the cosy ‘Matchbox’ and invited into rising comedy star Zoe Sitas’ colourful world.
A world, it was soon revealed, of Greek wraps, astrology signs, and Flashdance.
It was clear why Sitas’ star has been rising in recent years, supporting renowned comedian Wil Anderson on his tour in 2018. After a slightly nervous start, Sitas did well to make the tiny Comedy Festival stage come to life with skits, impressions, and costumes. Sitas’ family members were so colourfully described they seemed like additional performers, although there was not enough time to develop their characterisation in full. What could have easily become a one-dimensional set left the audience constantly engaged with the wide range of comedic tricks Sitas put on display.
The audience was instantly put at ease by Sitas’ self-deprecating, self-aware style as she broke the fourth wall skilfully, joking about the comedian’s need to figure out the demographic of her audience, and the amount of time she put in to finding the perfect sound effects. Sitas did well to recover after mocking ultimate frisbee only to find a whole ultimate frisbee team in the crowd, instead using this as the perfect platform for audience interaction.
Sitas’ set was not overly loaded with political commentary, yet there were moments of sombreness amidst the comedic lightness that added a deeper level of thoughtfulness. It was there when we were offered an even more generous peek into her inner world, as Sitas shared heart-wrenching experiences with discrimination as a result of her Greek heritage and her sexuality. References to her experience moving countries at a young age were also particularly insightful, offering a unique perspective about her immigration from South Africa and the cultural complexities which followed upon arriving on new soil.
The moments which shone brightest, however, were those which united the audience and played into Australian cultural references, all of which were immediately understood. The opening sequence hilariously demonstrating the challenges of going through airport security was particularly strong, as was her mocking takedown of Australian Physical Education teachers; resulting in the loudest choruses of laughter from the audience.
With such a diversity of scenes, the night could have easily become a selfish exploration of Sitas’ most favoured party tricks with no real direction or reason. Yet, her self-vocalised query, ‘Is there a point to this show?’ seemed perfectly answered in the final number — a bold, dance performance where a pink-leotard-clad Sitas pranced around the stage in a joyful celebration of ‘Flashdance’.
Sitas’ show is one of self-exploration indeed, but also one of most poignant, carefree self-discovery.
Zoe Sitas: With Two Dots is playing at Sydney Comedy Festival’s Factory Theatre in Marrickville on Sunday the 12th of May. Tickets are $15.