Something to tell you

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I’m happy to say that I’ll be presenting a two-week season of Not Much To Tell You at Brisbane’s Metro Arts!

It is wonderful to be presenting the performance at the very home where it was nurtured and developed. I was selected for Metro Arts’ Creative Development program during their July-December block last year, and they were warmly supportive and critically helpful in developing my first solo show. Not Much To Tell You had its first season in Perth earlier this year, co-presented by Fringe World and The Blue Room Theatre. Since then, some people have been asking “Are we ever going to see it in Brisbane?” Yep! This one’s for you, Brisbabes.

This show was developed with financial support from the awesome people who contributed to my Pozible campaign last year. I want to thank you all again: Ashley, Mark Cottman-Fields, Rae White, Amy Fletcher, David Vincent Smith, Kate Zahnleiter, Sam Vaughn, Larry Cox, Alexis Malinkowski, Sandy Torode, Tom Hogan, and many more anonymous supporters.

It was nice of Metro Arts to have me back even though this is what I do when they leave me alone in their performance space:

Not Much To Tell You opens on 27 August and runs through the Queensland Poetry Festival, until 6 September. Tickets go on sale soon – more info at the Metro Arts website.

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Oh Fringe World!

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It’s the final week of Fringe World and I am having more fun than a hipster at Bogan Bingo. We had a great season of Not Much To Tell You at The Blue Room Theatre, and although I very much enjoyed the show run, it was a relief to wake up on the final morning and not have to wonder about ticket sales.

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After bumping out my final show, I needed to find a way to unwind after a week of shows. I left The Blue Room Theatre thinking, food? Eat everything in Northbridge? Or maybe collapse onto one of my friends? Then, we walked past robot busker guy, and I had my answer.

In my downtime after Not Much To Tell You finished, I have been soaking up everything Fringe has to offer. Most particularly, many shows by many very fine and talented artists. I’ve just come from Brian Finkelstein’s First Day Off In A Long Time, which was a masterful example of honest, vulnerable storytelling, and pretty damn brutal. I guess any story that takes place on a suicide hotline is going to be brutal. But Brian’s a master at keeping the tension just bearable – and he’s bloody funny.

Last night I caught the Lords of Luxury and had my biggest laughs so far this Fringe. These four suited-up gentlemen had me gripping my sides like an idiot. It turns out what I really like in my sketch comedy is absurdist pop culture references, deadpanning, and wigs (see: Slumber Party Time Travel).

Adam Peter Scott’s Book Fight was an education in Stephen King’s back catalogue. Ostensibly a game show where panel guests answer questions about books, it was really a competition to see who could bring the most snark. To my mind, the night’s winner was burlesque performer Sugar du Joure for her handling of Adam Peter Scott, who kept groping (word choice intentional) for jokes about her ample neckline. (Scott, staring: “My mind’s gone blank.” Sugar: “It’s always like that.”)

A sweetly absurd adventure through dystopia was She Was Probably Not A Robot. Delightful, silly, and shot through with an unexpected vein of poetry. Stuart Bowden had the audience on side from the start, and pulled us into his cartoonish, faintly threatening world with ease. I’m a heart-fan of dystopian storytelling anyway, but Bowden’s spandex antics won me over the rest of the way. Also, great beard.

Fringe World, you are the bomb.

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Week 2 of Fringe World!

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Well it’s the second week of Fringe World and this is my busy week. Not Much To Tell You opens tomorrow night – woop! I’m doing a five-show run from Tuesday to Saturday. Pretty pumped to get in the theatre and meet some new audiences.

First week of Fringe was pretty hectic, too. Almost as soon as I landed in Perth I was off to PICA to watch Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd’s lo-fi puppetry spectacular, BRUCE. It was pure entertainment, all managed with one bit of sponge for a puppet and some homespun genius. I took one of my besties with me, and it is always a joy to introduce another person to Watts’ plays. We both bought our own little Brucies to take home with us: Little Bruce sleeps in my socks.

I also caught the puzzlingly obscure What A Joy To Be Alive at The Blue Room Theatre. I won’t pretend to know what it was about, but sometimes I like to see a show I don’t understand. Gets the ol’ mind grapes going. My friend and I had a great time sharing our notes afterwards and finding out we’d both guessed completely differently about the show’s meaning. There were some haunting uses of lighting and performer Tom Davies’ physicality that will stay with me.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of watching old mate Ella Bennett and her partner in comedy Marnie Allen (both ex-Pelican crew) present their “balls-out” adventure through time and space, Slumber Party Time TravelI think Bennett is one of the most promising new comedy writers coming up at the moment, and in combination with Allen she is just ridiculous. The one-liners kept coming, as sharp as the flick-knives they casually pulled from their bras. When Allen donned a beard and wig and became the future, rat-burger-selling version of Bennett’s high school crush, I nearly busted a rib. Bennett and Allen form Slow Loris Productions, and I very much hope to see more from them in the future (even at the risk of my ribs).

Another highlight of last weekend was going down to Cottesloe Beach to protest WA’s shark cull. Seven people have been killed by sharks in Western Australia in the last three years (which I would argue is a pretty slim number considering the thousands of people who enter the water every year), and the Barnett government has responded with a bait-and-kill policy. Sharks are now being caught and shot in the head, without having attacked a human. Around 6,000 people turned out on Saturday to protest the policy. It was a pretty impressive sight (see gallery below).

On to more frivolous news – my Twitter account reach 600 followers yesterday. I am continuing my tradition of recording a special message for each hundredth follower. This time it was Sarah Breheny, for whom I will be singing a special poem from an undisclosed Fringe World location. I’ll be recording it tomorrow, so check my Twitter feed if you like watching me embarrass myself (apparently the prospect was quite popular with my existing followers … thanks fronds).

EDIT: Here be a link to the video! For @ladybface, my 600th Twitter follower.

ToD gets a Versatile Blogger Award

Transports of Delight

Nicole over at NMNPHX has kindly nominated Transports of Delight for a Versatile Blogger Award! That is this humble transport blog’s first award, huzzah!VBA image, courtesy of NMNPHX.wordpress.com

I would like to say a huge thank you to Nicole for this unexpected compliment. I’ve been following her blog for a while and it’s well worth a read. She’s written a very handy post on the Versatile Blogger Award, if you would like to find out more about it. Here’s the link: http://wp.me/p1B9zn-8C

One of the rules of the VBA, I have been told, is that the nominee must share seven personal facts. So, here are seven facts about myself:

  1. My last car was named Jeff, and I loved him like a brother.
  2. I like to anthropomorphise things.
  3. I have a degree in English and Communication Studies.
  4. Sometimes, while on the bus, I hum to myself. Usually the Bed Intruder song.
  5. I once stood inside a rainbow.
  6. I have a human brother, and he deeply resented my last car.
  7. Transports of Delight was conceived after I performed one of my transport tales in Barefaced Stories, at Perth’s 2012 Fringe World festival. (My performance was featured on ABC’s 7:30 Report for precisely two seconds, in the background, with the sound turned down low. I am immensely proud of this.)
Three Strikes (Source: The Blue Room)

“Three Strikes could only happen in LA”, Feb 2012

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A review I wrote for Perth Now‘s coverage of Fringe World, as part of the Buzzcuts Perth program. Published in February 2012 on PerthNow.com.au.

Has Jay Leno ever handed you a steak sandwich? Well, it happened to Brian Finkelstein.

Three Strikes is the true story of ridiculous events from Brian’s life, focusing around the American Writers’ Strike of 2007. At the time of his third strike, Brian was a comedy writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show in Los Angeles. He found himself walking in circles holding a picket sign for reasons he barely understood.

Three Strikes (Source: The Blue Room)

Brian’s style of delivering his story is at once coarse and endearing. You can’t help liking the guy. You might feel that maybe you shouldn’t like this guy, since he starts off the show by telling the audience to shove their mobile phones where the sun don’t shine. In the beginning, he paints himself as an apathetic slacker with no beliefs or values. However, as the story progresses, Brian teases out more of his past, and reveals key events that brought him to that writers’ picket line in LA. His growing disillusionment with the world has a universal ring to it.

It is a fascinating story, and not just because he met Jay Leno. Brian compares the American Writers’ Strike of 2007 to the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 (an anarchist violent protest over working hours), and he does so with piercingly funny wit.

This one-man show boasts a cleverly written script (by Brian himself), hilarious characterisations, and powerful use of the stage space. With a running time of 50 minutes, the story never overstays its welcome, and it is a brilliant addition to any night out.

The show takes place in the PICA performance space, which is perfectly located in the beautifully decorated cultural centre. Afterwards, you can wander up to the Urban Orchard to discuss Brian’s story over a beer.

Three Strikes finishes this Saturday, so be sure to book your tickets before this master of storytelling jets back to LA. This might be your last chance to see him perform – who knows when he’ll go on strike again?

“Barry Morgan shows off his organ”, Feb 2012

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A review I wrote for Buzzcuts and Perth Now of the Fringe World show, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs. After the show, I had the pleasure of meeting Barry himself. Such a grin!

Barry Morgan and I

You might know Barry Morgan, Adelaide’s celebrity organ salesman, from his appearances on the music quiz show Spicks and Specks.

Barry’s trademark toothy grin and his prodigious skill on the keyboard were all he needed to win over television audiences. So, when it was announced that Barry Morgan would be coming to Fringe World, I was curious to see how he would flesh out his camp keyboard act into a one-hour show.

Barry Morgan’s World of Organs is a mildly strange experience from the moment you walk into the Perth Town Hall. Underneath the grand proscenium arch sits a 1981 Hammond Aurora Classic with matching Leslie speakers, looking very small indeed in contrast with the pomp of the venue. A badly recorded voice comes over the speakers, announcing the star of the show. Then out walks Mr Barry Morgan himself, all smiles and big hair.

The organ salesman immediately launches into his hilariously camp patter, announcing “this organ must be sold tonight!” The rest of the show is an extended sales pitch, with Barry avidly trying to convince audience members of the wonders of the electric organ.

Barry works the crowd with delightful ease, throwing out organ innuendos that never seem to get old. On this night, the audience seemed at first uncertain, but quickly got into the spirit of things with sing-alongs and shout-outs.

Although Barry’s talent on the organ is the central spectacle, the show has a great audio-visual element. A screen hangs over the stage onto which Barry projects photos from his childhood and footage from the stage.

Aside from a very strange moment when Barry abruptly disappears from the stage to “change into something more comfortable” and then returns wearing an almost-identical outfit, the show runs along smoothly.

Happily, this is a Fringe show that is suitable for all audiences. It’s a fun, light-hearted hour of comedy that will be especially pleasing for music-lovers.

The winner of Bogan Bingo and his be-mulleted mates

Perth Now entertainment review: “Flannel fun at Bogan Bingo”, Feb 2012

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A review I wrote for Buzzcuts and Perth Now, of the Fringe World show Bogan Bingo.

Bogan Bingo is, quite simply, a bingo night run by bogans.

The winner of Bogan Bingo and his be-mulleted mates

If you’ve ever thought that bingo nights don’t include enough AC/DC and swearing, then you might want to get down to Rosie O’Grady’s during Fringe. Just make sure to check your political correctness at the door, because these bogans aim to offend.

The flannel-clad comedians running this night had the audience cringing at off-colour jokes about pedophilia, bestiality, and Steve Irwin’s death. (‘That’s low,’ groaned one audience member.) However, Bogan Bingo’s humour is so self-conscious that they just get away with it. Just.

The drawing of each bingo number is punctuated by a rock ‘n’ roll hit from the ’80s. There’s sing-alongs, mullet wigs, and an Air Guitar Championship. The crowd can get a bit lively – this reviewer was nearly knocked over by a woman charging at the stage to win an inflatable guitar.

The night only runs for one round of bingo, which can be a relief for the audience, as the host’s ball-related innuendos get old fast. The show’s energy levels stay up during their short running time, except for an awkward three minutes where they try to make everyone stand up and sing Khe Sanh. The whole song. All of it.

Still, this is a fun night out. If you’ve got a bunch of friends who aren’t easily offended, then this might be the bingo night for you.

I’ll be on Radio Fremantle 107.9fm from 10.30am this morning, reading some of my poetry and having a bit of a chat. Tune in if you’re in the area!

In other news, the Buzzcuts Perth program has been going well! The crack team of writers I’m coordinating have been writing up some fantastic reviews of Fringe World. You can read them on the Buzzcuts blog, or on PerthNow.com.au

Speaking of Fringe World, if you’re in Perth you should definitely be checking out some Fringe shows! There’s 150 shows on offer, with heaps of variety. I especially recommend the story showcase Barefaced Stories at the Blue Room. I might be a bit biased because I’m one of their storytellers (I did the Barefaced opening night on Tues) but seriously it’s a brilliant show! And it’s different every show, so you can go to more than one.

So much to do! Huzzah!

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