Aunty Donna goes back to school, and it’s total chaos

Mark Bonanno (left), Broden Kelly (middle), Zachary Ruane (right) are Aunty Donna. (Source: MICF)
Aunty Donna: Glennridge Secondary College
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Max Watt’s, 125 Swanston St
Until: April 22 (all sold out), extra performance just announced for May 18. 
Rating: ★★★★


Aunty Donna’s Glennridge Secondary College show is a brilliantly relatable display of manic chaos. 

Since their 2012 MICF Golden Gibbo Award nomination, Aunty Donna – Mark Bonanno, Zachary Ruane and Broden Kelly – have evolved to become an unstoppable force in the comedy world. 

There’s a real sense of Aussie high school culture in Glennridge, from the infamous “S” symbol scribbled onto the show’s set-piece, to the illustrious packet of “chippies” that we’re all so guilty of delving into during countless lunchtimes.

After all, this is an Aunty Donna show – which means the boys will be guiding the audience through a satirical and at times insane display of what we remember high school to be.

While the group’s 1999 YouTube series painted a devolved picture of the established office worker, Glennridge Secondary College is much more open in its relatability.

Aunty Donna wants us to reminisce on what we considered to be problems in our younger years, before the stresses and burdens of the adult world punched us in the face. We are essentially laughing at younger versions of ourselves.

Some of Glennridge’s best skits were the simplest. Kelly’s impression of a strict high school principal stood out – his lecture to the audience to “stop laughing” as if we were a troupe of cackling year seven students was sure to spark some youthful memories.

A conversation between Bonanno and Ruane as two teenage girls on the footy oval brought a lot of laughs. 

Glennridge’s ability to leave the audience in a state of nostalgia is show’s strongest point.

The show’s only pitfall is that the connection between Aunty Donna and the audience is overdone – the unpreparedness of audience members joining the trio on stage made for awkward parts of the skit.

Aunty Donna are masters of unpredictability. Their witty and clever improv puts Glennridge Secondary College among the standouts for this year’s festival.