Darkness and Light
A grand total of eight comedians, assembled by Cath Styles @ The Tuxedo Cat – Yellow Room
You know what I like about performers? That they perform – they’re prepared to get up on a stage and Do Stuff for the amusement and/or edification of others. That’s a trait that I deeply envy in them and, whenever possible, I like to chat with them about their process: I like to try and find out what’s in their head that needs to get out on that stage… where the creative spark comes from.
But recently, there’s been the odd little show popping up now-and-again that is intended to allow performers a bit of a free-pass for their stage time; like an all-access open mic night at a comedy club, there’s the opportunity to try out new material, or maybe just get something off your chest. The ever-so-quirky Young Man Dressed As A Gorilla acted as a release valve for comedians; Darkness and Light, an ensemble show run by the lovely Cath Styles, offers an avenue for performers to talk about the darker times in their lives… and to maybe find the light within those moments.
11:00pm, Mon 11 Mar 2013
There’s maybe only a subdued dozen-or-so punters in for this, the second performance of Darkness and Light; Richard McKenzie emceed, separating acts with discussion of his ailing Dad’s obsessions and the shocking (no pun intended) tale of being assaulted with a taser (and subsequently robbed). McKenzie really worked the small crowd well, and I loved his storytelling style; a nice discovery there, then.
I’m pretty familiar with Bart Freebairn by now, however, and – whilst he is impressively ripped at the moment – I’ve never really been big on his style; his stories about being hit on by presumptive guys were amusing, though. David Smiedt started heading down a grim race-related path when talking about South Africa (which I found pretty intriguing), but then popped in a piece about an anti-camel-toe device at the end of his slot… it felt like a cheap and incongruous joke that ran counter to the spirit of the rest of the show.
Nikki Britton closed out the show, and I initially thought that she’d be just repeating material from her show; and whilst she did head down the same path when talking about her job working with children suffering from cancer, the story veered into more emotional, heartstring-tugging territory… and Britton was still able to conjure a somewhat inspiring denouement. All-in-all, a pretty entertaining show – though the use of the word “entertaining” is dubious when there’s such pain, death, and violence on display.
11:00pm, Sat 16 Mar 2013
Jon Bennett emceed this evening in front of a small crowd – maybe only half-a-dozen paying customers this evening, but the headcount was upped by the addition of artist passes. Whilst Bennett re-used a bit of content from his TuxCat show, he went into a bit more detail about his brother’s meth dealings and subsequent cancer; he also told a long, twisted, and entertaining tale that resulted in him shitting his own pants in South America.
Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall trotted out a not-especially-dark-or-funny recollection of engaging in a threesome within a foreign consulate; the relatively light tone of his piece stood out in stark contrast to Cath Styles’ discussion about her Mum’s cancer, which one feels might have been the impetus behind the Darkness and Light show.
Abigoliah Schamaun provided another broad shift as she kicked off with a cheery description of an all-girl threesome, before spiralling into darkness with the story surrounding her dad’s death. And her spot served as a perfect microcosm of this evening’s Darkness and Light: tonal shifts galore made this a less satisfying show than the earlier episode. But the concept is still strong, and I’ll be squeezing in further visits to this ensemble show as The Schedule permits.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 11, 2013