Adelaide Fringe Review: Marmalade, The Griffins, 2023

Thao Cao’s Marmalade is stripped down stand-up comedy at its very best.

Without the benefit of even a soundboard operator to announce her, Thao had us laughing from the get-go by poking fun at her bare bones production.

Unphased by the intimate huddle of punters in the front two rows, Thao effortlessly dispelled any awkwardness with her relaxed and affable manner.

In a show that was always surprising, Thao laced cheeky one-liners through poignant moments with ease.

A compelling story teller, Thao recounts such adversities as her family’s treacherous journey to Australia, a life-threatening illness and a menacing encounter with racism in a Berlin train station.

While that might not seem like good fodder for comedy, she naturally intersperses these tales with humour and warmth and it works.

On the flip side, there’s a healthy dose of embarrassing anecdotes, cheesy puns and immense pride in being able to cook the perfect hard boiled for a food critic.

These moments feel like having a chat with an old friend and the laughter flows freely.

My personal favourite moment: poking fun at the inherent misogyny of the male dominated stand-up circuit, was a perfect demonstration on how Thao definitely doesn’t need comedy mansplained to her.

Catch Marmalade this weekend at the Griffins, at the very reasonable time of 5.45.

Grab your tickets HERE

4 stars

By Louise Duncan