With The Good, The Bad and The Elderly, 2019 Moosehead Award-winning comedian Tanya Losanno explores life in the ‘sandwich generation’ – thirty and fortysomething-year-olds responsible for taking care of ageing parents and their own children.
The show begins with Losanno describing her love for the music of Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Morricone is well known for scoring Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, and Losanno craftily draws a comparison between herself and the key character in many of those films, Clint Eastwood’s the Man With No Name.
She feels trapped between worlds: not just, as the child of migrant parents, between Italy and Australia, but also between Canberra – the hometown to which she has returned – and Melbourne, where she lived for many years.
It’s weighty material but Losanno mostly keeps things light, with gently humorous observations about her elderly parents’ love for Aldi shopping, their interactions with Scammers and Centrelink, and their relationship to Canberra’s Italian community.
In a clever, if repetitive, conceit, she compares various of these moments to stand-offs from Leone films, interrupting the observations to don a cowboy hat and briefly enact these scenes.
Losanno is also unafraid to get serious, and there were tears in the audience at times, including when she spoke of the importance of recognising the work of carers – many of whom are women and the children of migrants, or migrants themselves – and when she discussed the complex set of emotions that arise when caring for elderly parents.
Overall, this is a creative take on worthwhile material.
The Good, The Bad and The Elderly is playing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 21.