Sarah Abboud is a refugee made good. She lives in an exclusive beachfront property, runs a successful chain of takeaway restaurants and has the profile to match. Her husband, Karl, can practically retire and play Xbox while she features in news editorials and magazines.
But when a journalist begins to quiz her backstory – with Karl having more to say about his boat journey than Sarah does – questions arise about her ability to make fun of her own people.
The Boat People is slickly written and hilariously performed by the cast of four. William Erimya steals the show as the happy-go-lucky himbo Karl, ever trying to please his ambitious wife. Luke Joseph Ryan also shines as the other extreme himbo in Sarah’s life, her personal trainer Shane. The team relishes the script and has a hell of a lot of fun with it, pushing each character to complete caricature. The subject matter doesn’t force the script into ‘ethnic comedy’ territory either, with the production firmly aiming its gun at the whole of Australia.
As the play progresses into the future, the story almost gets a little out of control, but the absurdist performances ironically somehow keep it in check. While the ending could have done with some tweaking, this is a hilarious look at immigration, the media circus surrounding refugees, and the future of our country.
The Boat People is playing at Bondi Pavilion Theatre until Saturday June 21.