Printable CopyCHERRY RIPES
Until 26 Feb 2017

Review by Paige Mulholland

Cherry and Ruby Ripe may not be the fresh, young fruit they used to be, but they can still sing a mean song and play a mean washboard. While their subject matter was not exactly original or groundbreaking, audiences who love a good sing-a-long and a good incontinence joke will enjoy taking a quick stop at Gluttony for “Cherry Ripes”.

Cherry and Ruby are sisters, venturing out of their small town in country Queensland to share the misadventures of aging with the world, and to offer some advice. The show is a blend of patter, songs, poems and dance numbers, with heavy audience participation. If you’re not a singer-along-er or a clap-to-the-beat-er, you’ll struggle in this show, where almost every number has an element of joining in. This technique could perhaps be used a little more selectively; though the small but good-humoured audience on 19 February were happy to participate for the duration of the show, a quieter audience’s response would eventually begin to wane.

The duo’s jokes are funny enough, and very relatable, if not overly original. When your show is about a topic as popular as aging, it’s difficult not to repeat the classics – “this sags, that droops, that leaks a little when we laugh”. Still funny, but it becomes a little less funny every time you hear it.

The music was a high point, particularly Ruby Ripe’s one-man band. Alternating between an electric drum kit, a kazoo, a washboard, a shaker, tap shoes and vocal harmonies (and sometimes using up to four of these at once), Ruby is a talent and an asset to the duo. Cherry leads the team with confidence and polish, and is consistently on pitch with her melodies.

Clocking in at under an hour, the show is brisk and lively, without any dragging. Perhaps the controversial jokes about child abuse should have been scrapped, but on the whole the show is short, sharp and shiny, as Fringe Cabaret should be.

Audiences will learn a lot from Cherry and Ruby, but the biggest takeaway from the show is that aging is something to embrace (and make self-deprecating jokes about), not to dread. And really, the older fruit gets, the closer it gets to becoming fermenting, right? These cherries won’t be going bad anytime soon, but I’m sure they’ll make a wonderful Kirsch.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)