When life gives you lemons, make a mad sketch show. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Frankie McNair and Miriam Slater are Sweaty Pits, a sketch duo from Canberra. Like all good comedy troupes, they seem like authentic best buds, and this is one of a few key ingredients in their winning formula. They’re a fairly new outfit but Pity Party!, their debut show, has already netted awards at other festivals in 2018 and it’s clear why. It’s inventive, it’s genuinely funny, it’s relatable and – crucially – bears an uncompromising social message that neither detracts from the humour nor feels tacked on.
What’s commendable here is that there aren’t actually that many sketches. Forgoing breadth for depth, McNair and Slater deploy a handful of skits that are acutely observed and carried by their incandescent chemistry. They tackle unrealistic beauty standards for women, gender inequality and lad behaviour with such smart buffoonery that you'll laugh as much as you feel empowered. It also bears a very Australian perspective, skewering not just what a typical woman should be but also what’s expected of one in this country.
There's nudity, too, and it isn't there for shock value but is brazen and effective within the scene. With the sketches linked by a cute device (it's a nice twist on ‘lo-fi comedy’), Pity Party! is an uninhibited, ramshackle hour, effortlessly propelled by two talented friends who seem to care deeply about each other and the issues that galvanise them. Oh and there’s a great sketch with lemons.