Melbourne Fringe Review: Lessons With Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom

by Jane

“Hello, my name is Luis from Lessons With Luis”, the young man with the adorable smile, adorkable hair cut, love of cats, love of teaching, love of cats, love of comedy, love of cats, and amazing knitted jumper says, giving us a thumbs up.

We’re here today for Lessons With Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom. Luis’s father needs a kidney operation, and to help raise money Luis has gone to where the money is: a fringe festival. Within this show about a show raising money for a kidney, we follow the story of Luis on his treacherous journey to Kidney Kingdom where kidney replacements can be found.

Luis is joined on stage by his father Len, in several supporting roles with the help of a music stand and script, and his silent brother Luelin, in charge of the props. If the show fails it’s all Luelin’s fault. Clearly.

Through this improbably hilarious show, we are treated to Luis’ most best jokes and improvisation, a lesson about anatomy, and journeys along the blue wooden road, on the train, through an ocean pursued by a shark, in conversation with a dinosaur, to the moon (which, shockingly, isn’t made out of cheese!), and, of course, past the gates of Kidney Kingdom.

The three men in their patterned jumpers, with their home-made props of cardboard, a keyboard for the musical accompaniment, and several costume changes (doctor outfit! comedy jacket! wetsuit!) give to us a show with a huge heart and awful awful jokes: like the delightfully naive humour of a child who hasn’t quite figured out how jokes work yet.

Remarkably in Lessons With Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom, while we are undoubtedly laughing at the preposterousness of the “humour” and the jokes Luis and his father tell, the show maintains a wonderful balance where the laughter doesn’t feel malicious. While the jokes are truly awful, they are delivered with such heart that laughing at the joke – giving Luis the response he feels the jokes deserve – in some way feels heartwarming. It actually feels great to be supporting these characters in their crazy explorations.

There is really very little that can be said about Lessons With Luis. It is stupid. Stupid stupid fun, where I had tears in my eyes and had to take gulping breaths from laughing so hard. It is impossible to not love Luis. And thank him for the lessons he gave me: lessons in humour, in cats, in kidneys, and in cats.

Thank you, too, Luis, for the balloon. They really are fun. I’m keeping mine in my wallet so every time I go to get some change I can see it and smile.

Lessons With Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom, with Luis, Len and Luelin. At the Lithuanian Club Ballroom with the Melbourne Fringe. Season closed.