FRINGEWORLD 2021 | Nadia Collins: The Bride | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Nadia Collins is one of Perth’s finest comedians – from improv to stand-up to devised theatre there is nothing this woman can’t do! Collins’ training at clown school (yes it’s a real thing!) has given her immense skills that enhance her already instinctive style. The Bride is a hilarious and bizarre theatre piece that fuses Kafka and Golding and celebrates the absurd, and we are here for every minute of it.

After trialling the show in a traditional theatre setting, I think it’s finally found its home in The Gold Digger – a tent that encourages audience interaction in the kindest of ways. That’s what you get the second you walk in – Collins is there in an exterminator uniform warning everyone of cockroaches. She is hilarious as the clueless guy with perhaps too much enthusiasm for cockroach knowledge – if you’re perceptive you’ll recognise this as foreshadowing – occa, carefree laugh giving way to groan as he declares ‘what? This is theatre?!’ before making a hasty exit. This initial audience interaction elicits grins and a sense of camaraderie and bonding – making it easier to warm to interactions later on where they might otherwise be reticent.

Collins’ strength is in her characters and ability to improvise. From the Bride herself, smile slipping away from her face during the dress fitting and cake tasting – made easier with lucky audience members – to the groom and best man complete with fake moustache and a lot of masculine looking nodding. Apparently this is how you depict a man – just pop on a mo, give an appreciative nod, and manspread your legs. Collins’ impression is so on point that even the audience member filling in for the best man adopts her mannerisms! Audience interaction is a huge part of this show – in case you hadn’t picked that up – but what makes it work is Collins’ affable and enthusiastic coaxing. There is a clever audio that guides people through although this could be more explicit and some of the interactions are too similar, so remain intimidating.

Speaking of audio – holy hell am I in love with this concept! The audio is a hilarious parody of The Princess Bride, 80s classic and tacky-yet-adorable movie. And that’s exactly what you get from Collins – knowingly tacky and adorable – the hen’s night is a brilliant display of loose drunkenness and the capacity for women to be ridiculous ‘oh it’s a dildo – dildos are always funny’ is screamed in a come-at-me-bro high pitch while pulling down her skirt. I can attest that this is indeed the case but only for women on a hen’s night and never anywhere else. The energy and vibe of a hens is captured and shaken up in the snowglobe that is Collins’ brain as everything descends. I know it’s on the blurb but I really don’t want to give away any spoilers – so let’s just say that the transition into cockroach-hood is pure genius.

Whether you get involved, don a duct-tape or rubbish bag homemade costume or just laugh at Collins’ antics you’re guaranteed a good time. Collins is a brilliant performer and her flexibility between characters and phases is nothing short of genius. It’s a tight script with allowances for the chaos of audience interaction that parodies Kafka’s existential crisis narrative and fuses it with a happily ever after. The pisstake of popular culture from Legends of Zelda dungeon music to whatever the shit was in Romeo + Juliet is sharp and funny but ultimately uplifting. Nadia Collins The Bride is weird and wonderful, and it just works.

You can get your tickets to the wedding of the century HERE

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