By Chenoah Eljan
Latchkey is a sketch comedy show from the brilliant minds of The Improv Conspiracy alums Taylor Griffiths and Matt Jenner. This show has precious little in the way of set design, costumes, props and sound cues. Instead, it is 68% Griffiths’ hilarious facial expressions, 19% heartbreakingly accurate representations of Australian people we have all met (and may very well be), 12% an absolute banger of a song called Thirty Dollars Worth of Ham, and 1% a pair of pants Griffiths’ made herself.
Latchkey was the tenth and final show this reviewer saw at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. And I laughed more than the other the other nine shows combined. Latchkey is absurd, sure, but only in the way that real life is absurd. This show is created from profoundly astute observations of the world around us, and refreshingly it is the Australian world and Australian characters it depicts. Griffiths and Jenner conjure up anomalous characters who possess some pretty antisocial behaviours with great empathy. From the agro, jealous boyfriend who just wishes he could be the kind of person who could talk about a painting he saw once, to the soldier who cannot let his letter from home (or lack thereof) be outshone by his mate, to the farmer from Nagambie who went to Time Zone and danced to Japanese music one weekend and was never the same again.
Griffith and Jenner are pros. Their comedic timing and delivery are outstanding, no doubt in part due to their years of improve. They make the audience laugh with every line, every pause, every micro-expression. Everything is sharp, but also somehow wholesome. Yes, this show is immensely wholesome. This is not humour at anyone’s expense. You know these characters, but none are a cliché. Each flawed, super weird, often problematic character wins the audience over with their honesty and enthusiasm.
It is no surprise that Latchkey was nominated for Best Comedy at Melbourne Fringe. This show is full of unexpected and yet highly recognisable moments, and lines so funny they will be seared into your brain for life: “ChatGPT can’t put a lampshade on its head at a party to show us all that we’re having a good time.” But lampshade or not, Latchkey is one heck of a good time. It is a show sewn together from all our most mortifyingly personal taboo desires, like giving up everything just to drink bubble tea and tender, evocative imagery of eighteen identical pink mud boys.
Early on Griffith shouts at the audience, overwrought with emotion: “Do not laugh at him, he’s trying!” The truth is, they are both trying and succeeding and there is no way to stop yourself laughing. Latchkey is a joy. I await with bated breath what these two do next.