Fringe preview: Aunty Donna

Whip-smart absurdity from the returning Aussie sketch trio


This article is from 2015.

Fringe preview: Aunty Donna

Credit: James Penlidis

Don’t let the name fool you: Aunty Donna is a fast-paced, quick-witted, three-man sketch troupe from Australia. Broden Kelly, Zachary Ruane and Mark Samual Bonanno specialise in surreal, achingly funny, deceptively clever humour, whizzing around stage seamlessly switching characters and situations for maximum laughs.

It’s hard to tell if the Aunty Donna boys are ever serious. When asked how they started working together they reply collectively with this: ‘The three of us met in dance school where we were all studying classical ballet. Broden was a real rebel though, creating improvised hip hop moves that had the whole faculty outraged. The moment the rest of us saw him move, we knew classical ballet wasn’t for us, so we formed an alternative sketch comedy troupe.’

It can be tricky picking the kernels of truth from their relentless energetic brand of whip-smart absurdity. Here they explain their unusual moniker: ‘Aunty Donna is an old drag act that Zach used to perform in during his cabaret days. She was a vivacious old woman who sang old doowop classics. We always liked the name, so decided to adopt it when he joined the group.’

The gang look like they might be stepping up to the next level having just completed a TV pilot for ABC Australia: ‘We play ourselves and it is very silly’. On their last Fringe visit they developed an affinity for our Athens of the North and a taste for one of the city’s finer culinary condiments. ‘Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in the world,' they say. 'Gilded Balloon is filled with wonderful people that we love to hang out with. And we quite like brown sauce. There’s a lot of brown sauce in Edinburgh. On chips. On brekkie. On pizza. Brown sauce everywhere.’

Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, 7–31 Aug (not 17), 10pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11). Previews 5 & 6 Aug, £5

This article is from 2015.

Aunty Donna

  • 3 stars

Electric Talent Aussie Edinburgh favourites return with a killer new show. Unique, tight, fresh, filthy, but best of all flat out, laugh 'til your face hurts funny. Hold onto your seats, don't blink! You won't want to miss a beat. Expect 60 minutes of pure sketch comedy that transports you into the warped world that is…


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