Adelaide Fringe 2021 Review: Takashi Wakasugi (JPN): Farm Backpacker (Subclass 417)

Takashi Wakasugi working on a blueberry farm.

Who: Stand-up comedian Takashi Wakasugi

When: March 11-13

Where: Balcony Room at Hotel Richmond

View details and buy tickets on Fringe website.

Takashi Wakasugi is, quite obviously, and in his own words, ‘a f*cking Japanese.’ About three years ago he left his comfortable life and job in Nikon’s HR department in Japan to come to Australia on a working holiday visa. To extend his visa, he undertook 3 months of farm work alongside mostly European backpackers. This show is his story.

In Farm Backpacker (Subclass 417), Takashi takes us through anecdote after anecdote from the disgusting, bizarre, alcohol-fuelled world of Australian farm backpackers’ hostels. An accompanying PowerPoint provides often disturbing photographic evidence of his tales. His conversational, inclusive style makes the show feel like you’re listening to a friend or colleague recount his adventures from over the summer – it’s a friendly, relaxed vibe. Wakasugi is frank but not vulgar, self-aware and quite adorable.

He shares his amusing observations of the different cultures he encountered (noting how they contrast with Japanese culture) and sheds light on what it’s really like to do farm work in Australia in this context – a task many of us have heard of, especially in recent times with COVID-induced work shortages, but don’t really know much about.

It is impressive that Wakasugi has been able to carve out a significant place for himself on the Australian comedy scene sharing his experience as a visa-holder in this country. It’s obviously a very relatable experience for many, and an fascinating one for us home-grown, city-dwelling Aussies to hear about. I’m keen to see what he does in the future (a 2022 show about COVID is already in the works) and recommend show for anyone who’s keen for a fun comedy set and/or missing the backpacking life.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Katerina Grypma

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