Olga Koch: Fight


There are few individuals who can say that their father, the ex-deputy president of Russia, was written out of Russian history. There are even fewer individuals who can use this story to make people laugh. Olga Koch explores the comedic side to her father’s journey in politics, stemming from his attempt to give power to the Russian oligarchs by pushing the notion of voucher privatisation. I know. It’s a bloody interesting affair even before any jokes are made.

The invitation to Koch’s weird and wonderful world was set the minute the lights went up. Illuminated by a mysterious spotlight, a glass of water stood centre-stage upon a black table. The words ‘Take A Sip’ were projected onto the wall behind. The audience murmured, laughed and awkwardly spanned the room hoping for one brave soul to embrace the stage. As they did, Olga burst out of the backing curtain stating, ‘In Russia, you always have to get someone to check your water before you drink it’. This alternative opening set the bar high for an hour of exposing the comedic side to Russian culture.

Simultaneously, the biggest strength and weakness of the set was its ability to educate through storytelling. Whilst Koch’s family experiences provided a captivating storyline, it was almost so engulfing that the comedy factor could have been lost. It feels unfair to describe the narrative as ‘too interesting’, but it really was. Luckily, Koch had pre-empted this and timed many of her gags using projected images. As the story transfixed the crowd, the sudden appearance of a Russian Politician advertising Pizza Hut was unexpected and bought the audience back to the realms of stand-up. The exposure of each new slide evoked ripples of laughter, demonstrating the strength of Koch’s comedic timing.

Whilst the use of background images enhanced the set, the decision to close the show with a song about teenage boys felt slightly arbitrary to the overall family theme. The narrative itself was already strong with multiple storylines cleverly woven together. From tales of her Uncle openly trying it on with her Mother, to her Father’s career move from Political figure to game show host, Koch certainly gave the audience a unique taste of Russia from a family perspective. Although it was easy to follow, the inclusion of each potential storyline, image and song sometimes led to jokes which were rushed and slightly inaudible.

However, this isn’t to over-shadow the strengths of Fight. Koch’s confident delivery made each story as captivating as the last, and it’s safe to say she wasn’t short of interesting material. If you prefer to walk away from a show having learned a lot whilst laughing throughout, Koch is definitely the comedian for you. With such a fascinating narrative, uniquely timed gags, and delivery oozing with confidence, Fight may need tightening, but has certainly enticed me to discover more. In other words, I want me some more Koch.


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