[2014047] Late Night Comedy at The Producers Bar

[2014047] Late Night Comedy at The Producers Bar

A grand total of fourteen comedians (over two shows) @ The Producers Bar

One of the nice things about a new Fringe is discovering the new venues that have opened up around town, and one of the more successful was found in the revitalised Producers Bar; Marcel Blanch-de Wilt (and cohorts) managed two pleasant performance spaces (as well as hosting a great late-night bar, which provided one particularly memorable evening). And, every Saturday night, Marcel himself hosted a late-night comedy ensemble in the side bar.

11:35pm, Sat 22 Feb 2014

First signs as I approached The Producers this evening were daunting: loud dance music pounded the drunken dancing revellers out on the footpath, and for a moment I thought the Late Night show had been consumed by a dance party. It transpired that the management of The Producers had organised a bit of a club night – fair play, and a tidy earner for them, no doubt – but had honoured their comedy commitments.

After negotiating the dance crowd to grab a ticket (and negotiating the increasingly unruly pavement crowd to get inside) I was surprised to find that the ‘Bar was actually reasonably well shielded from the doof-doof music being cranked in the beer garden. And almost as soon as Marcel pranced onstage to warm the thirty-strong audience, we all discovered heard the pivotal person of the night: drunk Rachel, sitting in the second row, and never short of slurred commentary.

Marcel battled valiantly with Rachel, tempering her inclination to interrupt at every opportunity somewhat, successfully muting her with incredulity with his Fun Facts About Bears. The first act – Alex Wasiel, seen in last year’s Aggressively Helpful – let the audience goodwill dissipate a little too much before repairing the damage with some hug-related material (I much prefer Hard Hugs to Pump Hugs), but luckily Rhys Nicholson was his usual sparkling self, lifting the mood of the room with his wonderful recollection of a gig at a lesbian rally in Newcastle. And then Timothy Clark came to the stage armed with an astute observation of the dance club’s poster: “the club’s called ‘Poof Doof’,” he announced, before reading the fine print: “‘A gay club for homos’.” That alone was worth the price of admission.

Neil Sinclair produced one of his more surreal pieces of work (resulting in the consumption of gay swan meat), before Leo Kearse rounded out proceedings with a few laughs, but nothing notable.

In all, a reasonable show… Nicholson alone makes any show worthwhile, and Clark only needed thirty seconds to earn his keep.

11:35pm, Sat 1 Mar 2014

I’m not in the best of moods heading into this show: a real hodge-podge of shows during the day, coupled with some disappointing interactions with other people, had me in a bit of an introspective funk. But a fascinating lineup lured me out and, with no Poof Doof party in the beer garden this evening, the vibe around The Producers was more to my liking than on the previous visit – surprising, given the proximity to the Clipsal gates; I was assured that there were very few rev-heads in this neck of the woods.

Indeed, there were less than a handful of racing team shirts in the audience. Marcel opened up again with material that’s becoming familiar, but no less fun; Angus Hodge was the first of the guests on the bill, and had a decidedly flat opening before conjuring a few good-natured laughs. But the skies opened up and rained down a torrent of What The FUCK with the arrival of Stuart Daulman (one of The Wizard Sandwiches), whose standup delivery was unexpectedly bizarre. Babblingly incoherent levels of over-the-top mannerisms. Quite spectacular to watch, and would have been potentially suicidal had there been more Clipsal fans in the audience. A must-see in any lineup shows.

The amazing Demi Lardner brought her usual oddball self (though, after Daulman’s performance, she almost seemed normal), and her “threw my life away” joke is still gold. Angus Brown inexplicably came onstage with a towel – it wasn’t that hot, surely? – and rattled off a tasteful tale of shitting himself on a submarine; Jason Chong trotted out his familiar gym racism material.

Sarah Bennetto appealed to my country upbringing by talking about her small-town years at Swan Hill (where a commonly-heard pickup line is “there’s one, get her!”), and Danny McGinlay brought his familiar alpha-male presentation onstage (whilst recognising the three Clipsal lads in the front row from an earlier gig). And then came my current comedic hero, the glorious Jacques Barrett, who one-upped Angus Brown’s towel by adorning himself with a beer mat. Opening with his dogs-versus-cats joke, he called out to Marcel to suggest some followup material; Marcel bumped the honour to me, so I yelled out “blueberry muffins!” “You’ve given the joke away,” Barrett called back, before leaping into that fucking brilliant routine (albeit slightly truncated).

It’s pretty hard to complain about a lineup like that, and with such amazingly high highs – Barrett, Daulman, and Lardner all smashed it – I left The Producers in a much more buoyant mood than I arrived. The power of comedy, right?

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