The cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Adam Vincent, Gravity Boots(?), Ian D Montfort, Guy Pratt, Noir Revue, Ivan Brackenbury, Dead Cat Bounce @ Gluttony (Excess Theatre)
8:00pm, Wed 16 Feb 2011
Gluttony is a new collection of venues, perched in that little park on East Terrace between Grenfell and Pirie, that sprung up earlier in the week. From the outside, it’s an ugly assembly of security fencing and portable cabins; inside, however, lies three performance spaces, some leafy areas in which to lounge, a decent bar, a Chipotle food stall, and a pig and luggage motif.
And no allegiance to Strut & Fret, if that sort of thing is important to you.
An old, very-dear friend-of-the-family has connections and we’re in for a little drinky celebrating the first night of Gluttonous activity. There’s a lot of people kicking around, and a real positive opening-night vibe. Tom Binns has a sit and chat with us for a minute or two; I raved about how wonderful his Ivan Brackenbury show was last year, and his response was a smile laced with sadness – “oh, you were the one who saw it!”.
Finally, around 8:00, the doors (well… tent-flaps) of Gluttony’s largest venue, the Excess, opened for the crowd of probably two hundred. Consisting of a long lineup of Gluttony’s performers, this one-off showcase was certainly an action-packed affair, and kicked off with improv theatre by the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, who were lumbered with the task of ad libbing a piece about Uzbekistan, carrots, and drinking. The result was fantastic, and really fired the crowd up. They were then followed by Adam Vincent, who struggled to maintain their momentum… it took most of his short set to win the audience over, but he got there in the end. Unfortunately, a lot of his material felt familiar to me – and I’ve only seen him a couple of times before (in 2006 and 2009), and whilst the promise of dark material thrills, I’m a bit reluctant to commit.
An couple of characters (who I think were called Gravity Boots) then performed a surreal piece of theatre, each posing as a building: a neighbouring library and internet cafe. I’m buggered if I can find out who they were, or what show they are associated with, because their dry humour and quirky presentation definitely warranted another look. And then out came one of Tom Binns’ alter egos, Ian D Montfort: Spirit Medium, who failed to have the same joyous initial impact of Ivan Brackenbury; however, hints of his more evil character shone through and enticed.
Ex-Pink Floyd and Icehouse bassist Guy Pratt (my associate Barbara’s object of swoonery) came out and told a few tales of smashing up instruments and Bryan Ferry tour tales. These didn’t exactly fire the audience up in this larger venue, but I imagine they might go down a treat in a more intimate space; Noir Revue had no such problems, though, and managed to titillate and delight with some smokey singing, dancing, balance tricks and burlesque breasts.
A stumbling introduction brings Ivan Brackenbury to the stage, and I was delighted to see that he had the audience in uproarious laughter (if not tears) within minutes. Finally came Dead Cat Bounce, who made the Shortlist last year but were neglected – a mistake I won’t make again. These guys were fantastic, with rock-star sensibilities and comedy-laden songs; they’re definitely making the cut this year.
Blimey – that was a fair collection of acts! Eight mini-performances in a touch over ninety minutes made for a solid evening of entertainment… and the opportunity to do some Shortlist tweaking. Great stuff.