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Review: Aunty Donna – Big Boys


Aunty Donna’s new show hits the MICF under the title Big Boys, a show about boys, who are now big. The title is more than just a gag or joke to go with the show. The title incidentally refers to the three boys who are Aunty Donna, who have now become big after years of being together as a group; Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly and Zachary Ruane. The three are perfect for each other, and after years of performance their blend of slapstick comedy, alternative sketch and surrealism creates a hilarious show which might not be for everyone, but has an incredibly big following.

The trio are most successful for their online content, in which they create web series and musical sketches, which gain up to millions of views. There comedy show, Big Boys, blends what they do on the small screen with stand up comedy as well as a mix of audience interaction. Big Boys shows what each member of the group bring to the table, or stage in this case, and how they can do more than just planned sketches. Some of the funniest parts of the show were actually things which obviously were not planned for. Easily the best moment was when Aunty Donna’s silent DJ finally spoke a word, which the audience slowly applauded too, getting bigger and bigger, until it was a literal standing ovation. Bewildered but running with it, all three members left the stage and returned with Broden yelling for us through tears of laughter to sit down.

Aunty Donna is infectious that way. They’re capable of making you laugh and not minding laughing along with you. Them laughing just makes you laugh more. And then more, and then everyone in the room can’t breath because it’s just a circle of laughter which only ends when one of Aunty Donna breaks the silence with a completely straight faced dance routine. This kind of nonlinear structure to a comedy show breathes another breath of fresh air into modern day comedy. I myself love surrealist comedy, and Aunty Donna is easily some of my favourite examples of such. The characters they make out of themselves are perfectly timed, executed and developed, so that you never know when they’re going to be themselves or something they designed for stage.

Big Boys is a loud show, almost a little too loud for me. It’s also quite a personal show, being underground is a very dark room full of people who all love the same thing you do. Aunty Donna play the crowd well, interacting with them and running with nearly anything they say or do, making the audience feel like they are helping direct the show themselves. Although their comedy might not be for everyone, Aunty Donna has definitely perfected the niche they set out to claim, and even if it might be a bit odd to you, perhaps give it a go even then. You might still find something you like. Aunty Donna’s MICF show, Big Boys, is on until April 23rd.


Written by Hamish Vallance