Review: Fifty-Fifty

Alex Sorgo 19 January 2018

Ania Magliano and Riss Obolensky are very funny and I’m very glad I got out of bed to see their stand-up show. They talked about some of my favourite things – dildos with USB ports, Judith Butler, Christmas-specific homophobia, existential dread – and they did so with huge amounts of charisma, joy, and insight. I’m not sure I actually want to ‘review’ them, because the show was just great and deeply funny, but I took their free ticket, so… a review:

The pair started with some excellent crowd-involvement, asking the audience to get their heckling and misogyny out of the way. Magliano insisted that we look at her boobs, not her face, and Obolensky squatted down and began gesturing at her vagina, asking that we imagine her eyes to be down there. Hot. Obolensky then descended into the audience to demonstrate proper heckling, shouting at Magliano in a selection of voices before encouraging the audience to join her in chanting ‘you’re quite fit.’ Magliano immediately admitted that she chose her own heckles, and was quite pleased with the result. This was all great. Many laughs. 

As indicated by the title, the comedians then performed a half each, but also insisted that the halves were indicative of their states of half self-loathing and half arrogance. So relatable. Magliano performed first, with a through line (as she pointed out herself) of growing up, sparked by her impending twentieth birthday. Magliano had a relaxed way of performing, and where she did, very occasionally, stumble over a line or had a joke fall flat, she just made another joke out of it and moved on. She frequently addressed the audience and her pointed out her own methods, ‘that was a callback, guys’, to great effect. Her insights into the teenage mind were self-deprecating, far-reaching, and moved at perfect pace. Liked that a lot.

Then there was a dance break, which I highly rated as a form of warm up for Obolensky’s half. Obolensky had a very different stage presence to Magliano: she paced the stage doing full-bodied imitations of her mental cast of characters, more aggressively interacting and joking with her audience. She singled out a man to look at every time she reminded us that she was a lesbian, remarking to him, ‘bad luck, boyo’. As a fan of the ‘agg' end of pass-agg behaviour, I liked this a lot. The end of her set did somewhat drift into a Ted Talk (as she pointed out), but I like Ted Talks, and I like comedy that has underlying motives, aka Reasons To Stay Alive (Obolensky pulled out a copy of this book and recommended it to all). I would probably add Obolenksy as a reason to stay alive: don’t die until you’ve seen her, you’d really be missing out.

Overall it was just a fantastic show featuring some of the best comedy I’ve seen in Cambridge for a while – there were no seagull jokes, no animal impressions, no stereotypes and they were not in the ‘irony cave’. Instead, Magliano and Obolensky seemed genuinely happy and comfortable on stage, and were truly hilarious in their ability to laugh at themselves and the audience. I would recommend that you go see it, but you can’t because it was a one-night show, so instead I recommend that they perform as a duo again, and next time I’ll actually buy a ticket: it would be worth it.