Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian(Karma Chamedian) is a show that is just as ridiculous as its title. A new show from Australian comedian Josh Glanc, this is 60 minutes of knee-slapping sketch comedy that features clown, audience participation, and, one of my favourite 90s bands, Aqua. Glanc is a talented performer who knows how to work an audience and Karma Chamedian is definitely one of my 2018 Fringe highlights.
The piece is comprised of seemingly unrelated sketches where the only through line is Derrick Johnson, of all people, and the performer’s apparent need to keep checking on his child via baby monitor. Glanc’s style of humour has a sort of Monty Python feel too it, in that each skit has this great sense of randomness and unpredictability. The very first skit featuring the “cyclist” is a great example of how the performer, much like Python, unexpectedly subverts the audience’s suspension of disbelief to create a whole other layer of humour to the scene.
Audience participation can be a scary thing for many people (myself included) and, admittedly, Karma Chamedian starts out with some pretty heavy interaction from the audience. However, Glanc does a great job of making the participants feel safe and, for lack of a better word, cool on stage while they air mime different instruments alongside Smash Mouth’s Walkin’ On the Sun to really start the show off with a bang. Later on in the show, we are the live audience to “Breakfast with Juan” and select members are invited up on stage to dance along with the host, Juan. After doing this a few times over, one audience member is singled out as having “really great energy” and is asked to take over Juan’s role. Much hilarity ensues as the unsuspecting participant is encouraged to reenact Juan’s flamboyant intro routine.
Karma Chamedian isn’t just a onenote comedy, though, as it manages to pose some really interesting and thoughtful questions about live performance as a medium for communicating reality. In the final scene where Glanc dons the traditional makeup of Mime artists, he tells the story of a mime who is “sick of pretending” and instead desires “reality”. He gives us examples by bringing out a cardboard box to be put in and also a rose to be given as a gift. When those illustrations aren’t convincing enough, the mime progresses to a more, let’s say, extreme representation. After everyone has overcome their shock from what has to be one of the best stage effects this Fringe, the mime exclaims, “It’s fake, but it’s real fake!”. An excellent metaphor for how theatre artists manipulate reality on stage to elicit an emotional response out of the viewer.
This show is worth putting on your 2018 Fringe list. It was a laugh a minute with every sketch being unpredictable and fresh. Karma Chamedian is easily one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve had the pleasure of attending at the festival so far.
Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian
by Josh Glanc
Venue 1: Arts Court