Gettin' Juicy with Poncho Orange
Lachlan Sands | On 26, Jul 2016
There’s a long tradition of Aussie comedians killing it at the Edinburgh Festival. Legends like Adam Hills, Celia Pacquola and Jim Jefferies all had their major breakthroughs at the festival. Hoping to become the latest to join these ranks is Poncho Orange, the absurdist brainchild of Brisbane comedian Dani Cabs.
Before jetting off to Scotland, Cabs put on a couple of intimate shows at the Bleachers in West End. Like all good comedy shows, it began with a misshapen, orange-felt creation emerging from the audience and sensuously caressing people’s faces with an orange. After this auspicious beginning – which was maybe milked for several minutes too long – anything was to be expected. Soon, the blanket was off, revealing Poncho Orange in all his glory: a tartan orange poncho, Speedos and not much else.
These two shows were a chance for Cabs to test out new material before the Festival, and it showed. While there was some fairly obvious stalling for time and technical issues plagued the show, Cabs is one of those charming, charismatic performers whom the audience will forgive for just about anything. Some of the more absurdist elements were questionable – such as an off-key, acapella rendition of ‘Blackbird’ delivered while smeared in black body paint – but all he has to do is look up from under his fringe, tilt his head and shrug, and the audience is putty in his hands. His strength lies in his talent for physical comedy, and Wednesday’s show featured the most lascivious eating of an orange I’ve ever witnessed.
The creation of Poncho Orange has been a long time in the making. He was first dreamt up backstage at Bluesfest several years ago, but only made his stage debut in February of this year, at the Adelaide Fringe. Cabs says the Poncho Orange character is based on Latin stereotypes he grew up trying to avoid. And as a first generation Australian/Latino, he resembles Fawlty Towers’ Manuel, but less clumsy and more naked.
“It’s only in the last few years that I’ve learnt it’s best to take ownership of the stereotype so I can play with on my own terms, not someone else’s. And now Poncho is all about fun, love and laughter, which is a nice way to control that stereotype.”
He said while he was incredibly excited about the atmosphere and the chance to perform in such a historic and renowned venue, there was also huge pressure to deliver.
“Performing twenty-two nights in a row to a European audience is the best environment to solidify your show and push your own craft, but it’s also pretty bloody scary.”
Of course the crowds in Edinburgh, spoilt for choice, may not be quite as forgiving, but Poncho Orange has great potential and we wish him bon voyage!
Image Credit: Yan Chen