[2015058] Kids’ Party Confidential

[2015058] Kids’ Party Confidential

Sean Murphy @ La Boheme – Upstairs

5:00pm, Sat 21 Feb 2015

Climbing the narrow stairs in La Boheme, I walked into the upper performance space to see the chairs and cocktail tables in the empty room populated by party hats. That made me super-sad – I’m always a bit heartbroken walking into an empty venue, but seeing the little party hats there, waiting for partygoers who (mostly) will never arrive? Wrenching.

By the time Sean Murphy started his monologue, a couple more groups of people had come in (including one ESL family who understandably struggled with some of the humour), and he cajoled us into wearing our hats to help set the scene. And Murphy leaps into action as a children’s party entertainer: costumed superhero, magician, and wrangler of ragged youngsters.

It wasn’t meant to be this way, he says, and there’s a bit of autobiographical character development to show us the desperation that one would need to contemplate such a career; but the money is good and the work is there, so much of the performance is filled with tales from his experiences: from costume complaints and mishaps, to lazy and bigoted parents (his employers!), to food and drink stories that would make a hyperactive child puke. They’re all in there, accompanied by hard-learned party management tricks: how to deal with a crowd that have eaten way too much sugar too early. How to deal with unruly or overly precious parents. How to change costumes in a car.

Everyone in the audience also got to tie their own balloon sword (another good tip to keep kids in line), and there were a few other small party games too.

Despite a few flat spots, Kids’ Party Confidential was a gently entertaining look at this weirdest of professions (says the childless misanthrope); as a half-hour show, it would be trim, taut, and terrific. At just under an hour, however, it feels a little flabby… and we all know how that looks in a latex costume.

[2015057] [title of show]

[2015057] [title of show]

Irregular Productions @ Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage

3:00pm, Sat 21 Feb 2015

There’s been a fair bit of “meta-” around the place in recent years: meta-comedy and (especially) meta-theatre have been enjoying a lot of stage time. But [title of show] is the first time I can recall seeing a musical about the production of a musical… and, initially, it seems like an absolute winner.

Jeff and Hunter decide to write a musical to enter into the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival, enlisting the help of Larry (on keys) and Susan & Heidi (on vocals). Struggling to come up with an idea for their project, they decide to write a musical about writing a musical; the (surprise) success of the work leads to an off-Broadway run, Tony nominations, and the inevitable – painful – demise of The Dream.

Much of the time is spent with Jeff and Hunter chewing over the creation process, and this is really interesting (and occasionally introspective) stuff; when the entire ensemble come together, songs tend to be a bit more pointed and humorous. There’s a fair bit of insider knowledge and references to other musicals – the provided glossary (or “[tos]sary”) is very handy – but the enthusiasm in both the script and the cast get any obscure points across well. The cast are uniformly excellent, with bold acting and strong voices, and the script (based on the true story of writing a show about writing a show) is well-weighted, funny, and touching. It’s an incredibly entertaining hour of musical theatre.

The only problem is that the show goes for ninety minutes.

The final third of [title of show] attempts to tie an unnecessary bow on the narrative with the explosive success of the work becoming a (somewhat predictable) millstone… and the plot becomes completely limp as a result. The songs lack the humour and punch seen earlier, and performances become less assured; it really felt like the show fell off the rails. And that’s a shame, because two-thirds of the show were simply brilliant… the final third, however, left me with an unsavoury taste in my mouth.

[2015056] How we stopped the end of the world : The adventures of Broer & Zus (brother & sister)

[2015056] How we stopped the end of the world : The adventures of Broer & Zus (brother & sister)

Eloise Green & Sam McMahon @ Royal Croquet Club – The Black Box

2:00pm, Sat 21 Feb 2015

Broer & Zus – Dutch for “Brother & Sister”, as indicated in the title of the show – are quirky twins who’ve emigrated from the mountainous regions of Europe to Australia. Eloise Green & Sam McMahon aim for charm with their characters, but there’s something about them that keeps them at arm’s length; it’s almost like they’re too quirky, or that the stereotypes they’re aiming for are alien.

Or that I’m too old.

Broer & Zus compare life at home and life in Australia through drawings, projections, and puppets; they also spend ages describing their first day at school. All these stories come across as incredibly twee, and there seems to be an incredible amount of effort into making everything as inoffensive as possible. There’s also a smattering of basic circus tricks, attempts at comedy that fail to engage (maybe because the youngsters in the audience can’t fathom the accent), and songs that rely on Broer & Zus’ mismatched voices for entertainment.

Look – The Adventures of Broer & Zus is clearly aimed at an audience much, much younger than me. Like, over forty years younger than me. They may have been able to find something engaging in this show, but I sure struggled.

[2015055] Funny Stuff For Happy People

[2015055] Funny Stuff For Happy People

Martin Mor @ Austral Hotel – The Bunka

11:00am, Sat 21 Feb 2015

I’ve taken to seeing a few shows targeting kids – or rather, “family shows” – every Fringe; they often provide opportunities to see performers delivering a more refined version of their acts. They’re usually ensembles, with comedians and physical acts pulled in to fill out a ten- or fifteen-minute spot… but in the case of Funny Stuff For Happy People, Irish comedian Martin Mor takes the whole show on himself.

There’s a fair few families in for this show, and they all seem to be the classic Mum & Dad & Two Kids combo. And when Martin Mor appears – clad in a safari suit, his spectacular grey beard flowing and acting as a humorous counterpoint to his tightly-cropped hair – he quickly pulls the rabble into line with the use of a whistle. This works remarkably well – apart from a few of the smaller children who felt the need to protect their delicate ears from the shrill noise – and Mor proves to have a remarkably good rapport with the youngsters, bribing them with lollies (after seeking parental approval).

Mom’s act is a combination of stories, jokes, magic, and a few short audience-involvement games. He identifies the bubbliest of the children in the crowd early – a pair of boys sitting (with their parents) at the other end of the back row to me – and Tom and Robert became his go-to-guys whenever a bit of material fell flat… and they always offered something to kickstart proceedings.

In short, Funny Stuff For Happy People was, indeed, funny stuff, and I doubt there was anyone in the room that left unhappy. Martin Mor’s comedy and stage manner was pitched absolutely perfectly in a family-friendly event, and even the adults couldn’t help but be entertained.

[2015054] Sunglasses at Night: The 80s Apocalypse Sing Along Cabaret

[2015054] Sunglasses at Night: The 80s Apocalypse Sing Along Cabaret

Geraldine Quinn @ Garden of Unearthly Delights – Deluxe

11:15pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Geraldine Quinn… but (as I’ve also mentioned before) I’m a bigger fan of 80s pop music. That was my era, man… new-wave, electro-pop, concept pop, mainstream, I loved it all. Hey, there’s even SAW songs that I will staunchly defend.

So a show where Geri applies her talents to my beloved decade of songs, and encourages an audience singalong? Oh man, I was so there… as were a shitload of other people, as the Deluxe appeared to be bursting at the seams.

Accompanied by Matthew Carey on keys, Quinn (looking, it must be said, spectacular) belted through a bunch of 80s classics, whilst handwritten (and hilariously annotated) lyrics were projected to facilitate an audience singalong. And singalong they did – the vast majority of the crowd were totally up for the experience, with cheers of recognition for many songs, and lots of untrained enthusiasm in the collective voice.

Yes, there was a lot of chat about (and around) the songs, and it was all heartfelt and funny – Geri clearly is a serious fan of this material, but is lovingly able to objectively cut it to pieces. And Geri’s singing? Awesome.

Anyhoo, here’s (most of?) the songs that were covered:

Quinn also announced there would be a fancy dress competition, for which there were three contestants in the crowd; each were summoned and directed to strike proud 80s poses onstage. The worthy winner had even dug up his bright yellow waterproof Walkman!

I had so much fun at this show; it’s like it was cabaret made explicitly for me. The time absolutely flew by, and I was a little bit sad when it was all over… but utterly delighted to have been a part of these raucous singalongs, led by one of my favourite performers. Love love love.

[2015053] Jono Wants a Wife

[2015053] Jono Wants a Wife

Jono Burns @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot

9:45pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015

Jono Burns is a pretty good looking bloke, especially for someone – in his mid-thirties – approaching middle age. This is evident within seconds of this show’s opening, as he enters the room and strips down to his jocks. And that’s how he stays for the bulk of the performance: nearly naked.

Which is a pretty good description of his emotional display, too, as he opens himself up for scrutiny. He’s not super-happy about being single, and he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life so far… and he’s not afraid to tell us about them.

Burns uses one particular failed relationship – that with Emily – as the backbone for this personal exploration, but delves back into the past as well; there’s fragments about his childhood, adolescence (his early masturbation encounters were hilarious), and of his days living in shitty accommodation near Bondi. But he always returns to Emily, and it’s where some of his best work – both in the text of the narrative, and the direction of Burns himself – takes flight: the nature of their relationship sounds almost ethereal, and the warmth in his voice as he describes wrapping themselves in red curtains is just beautiful… and a nice contrast to the story of meeting Emily’s parents (again).

That’s not to say that Jono Wants a Wife drowns in emotional whimsy; far from it. There are a few brushes with death and darker emotions, and for one so fresh-faced, Jono can really wallow in the filth: a lot of sex-related antics are detailed colourfully, and there are way more cunnilingus references than one would expect. It all works in context, though… once you get used to the contrasts.

Jono Wants a Wife was really entertaining straight-up storytelling. Jono’s an absolutely likeable bloke: he gets you on his team early, and has you barracking for him all the way to the end. And, for material that is so personal, that’s a pretty good feat.



Jon Bennett (with Becky Lou, Boris & Sergey, & Lisa-Skye) @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot

8:30pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015

So – Jon Bennett is pretty awesome, so It’s Rabbit Night!!! was inked in nice’n’early. But it turns out that this show owes more to last year’s Story (Whore) experiment than any of Bennett’s more scripted shows.

It starts off in familiar territory: Bennett is his usual affable self, and his accompanying PowerPoint decks are full of giggles… and rabbits. There’s so many cute bunny photos on display that there should be a diabetes warning on the show. And there’s also a requisite Rule – You do not talk about Rabbit Night – that I’m kinda ignoring. But it’s not long before Jon starts spinning one of his incredible stories: the orgy/threesome/foursome experience sounded terrifying, but not as scary as taking Fire In The Meth Lab to a nursing home in the UK.

But Rabbit Night is not all about Bennett’s stories; he has guests along to help out, but the running joke is that they’ve all mis-heard the “rabbit”. I can’t remember what Becky Lou’s interpretation was, but the look of shock and sadness when Bennett informed her of her mistake was priceless. Boris & Sergey (and their four human owners) bowled into the room expecting Puppet Night, and Lisa-Skye expected it to be Grab-It Night – a particularly tricky error as she spent her moments onstage offering a woman in the audience her breasts for groping.

As a result, It’s Rabbit Night!!! feels more like a cabaret ensemble show than a storytelling effort, but is no less enjoyable for it. A flakey lighting board also helped maintain a feeling that anything could happen, and when I chatted with Jon after the show, he mentioned that – apart from Becky Lou – he had no idea who the guests were going to be that evening when he started the show. And, once again, I’m left confused and amazed that any of this stuff ever comes together.

[2015051] Vanity Bites Back

[2015051] Vanity Bites Back

Helen Duff @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot

7:15pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015

The small performance space atop The Coffee Pot has been transformed into a small TV studio, where Jill – played by Helen Duff with a gorgeously rounded British accent and dressed like a 50s cooking maven – greets each audience member with a biscuit and a kind word.

An aspiring TV cook, Jill informs the studio audience (and the viewers) that we’re going to be preparing a cheesecake; it’s not long before she’s circulating with the audience, trying to gee us up for the adventure we’re about to undertake. But there’s not a big crowd in this evening, and we’re usually pretty conservative audiences… so Duff has to work hard to get any audience engagement.

(Of course, the crowd might have been a bit more enthused had the biscuits been something other than Granita biscuits… I mean, we’ve got standards here! Granitas simply aren’t offered to people you want to keep as friends!)

Jill’s cooking style is… unorthodox, as necessitated by the lack of kitchenware provided by her unseen – but oft frustratingly conversed with – producer, Glen. You sense that not everything is right with Jill when she beats the shit out of the remaining Granitas with a frying pan for the cheesecake crust; her actions are bold and comical, yes, but there’s a violence of desperation in there, too.

Vanity Bites Back has a couple of threads running throughout, with Jill throwing linked narrative asides to the audience during prep and “ad breaks”. There’s also recurring comments to the audience, which aren’t always as sweet and cheerful as Duff’s demeanour would suggest; but despite its threat, the audience abuse isn’t there to humiliate us… it’s there for Jill Duff to open up herself. For as the show goes on, the side narratives coalesce into a solitary, heartbreaking expose of her own life… it’s an incredibly potent sting in the tail of this performance.

I really, really loved Vanity Bites Back. I was just cruising along, enjoying the show that I thought was there, but when The Heavy Stuff kicked in? Oh man, that was fabulous. Great writing, a wonderful hostess, and an emotional rollercoaster. Kudos!

[2015050] The Fifth Horseman

[2015050] The Fifth Horseman

Poor Paw @ The Crown and Anchor Hotel

6:00pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015

So I’m trying to figure out the Schedule and there’s this interesting sounding theatre piece that’s on at the Cranka for three nights and it calls itself “grim” and that’s enticing and I’m thinking about it and then I get a charming email from a member of the company asking me to come along and I think “hey that’s nice!” so I fire off my usual “I don’t do comps” message and go straight to FringeTIX to lock it in.

That’s pretty much how my Fringe planning works, only (usually) without all the friendly emails.

And so I find myself at the Cranka at 6pm on a Friday night… and pre-sales are about what I’d expect for this timeslot (i.e. few), and walk-ups are about what I’d expect for a Friday night (i.e. fewer). And that makes me sad, because Sam – that’s the chap from Poor Paw who contacted me – had mentioned that they were from Brisbane, and I always start feeling sorry for people who pack their hopes and dreams into a suitcase and fly halfway across the country for a long weekend to try and make a go of it in the choc-a-bloc Fringe programme only to wind up with an audience of about ten people at one of your three performances.


A dark and moody opening heightens my curiosity – what do I expect as I watch two black-clad shadows slink across the murky stage, guided by torchlight? – until the torch is dropped, there’s a quiet profanity from one of the shadows, and the comical tone is established. From there, The Fifth Horseman weaves a (frankly) incomprehensible tale that seemed to revolve around the reclamation of a $16.21 Avon debt… but there’s also a dead cat, more dubious door-to-door sales techniques, and a shitload of gothic face paint and costuming.

And laughs, let’s not forget the laughs. And some apocalypse or other.

Despite not clearly figuring out what was going on, I was genuinely entertained by the ramshackle antics of the protagonists, Gavin and Ripley; they’re constantly breaking the fourth wall (without making the practice feel too undergraduate), and there’s a delicious ascension in the final act before tumbling – pleasingly! – into a hot mess of a denouement. This may have been one of those I-don’t-know-what-I-just-saw-but-it-pleased-me kind of shows, but that’s just fine by me.

[2015049] Calypso Nights

[2015049] Calypso Nights

Theatre Beating @ Tuxedo Cat – Perske Pavilion

11:00pm, Thu 19 Feb 2015

I’ve been a big fan of Theatre Beating since the amazing Constantinople in 2012 (which was then followed by Squidboy and … him), so Calypso Nights was shortlisted on the company name alone. Which meant, of course, that once again I walked into a venue with little idea of what to expect.

A disappointingly small audience filed in to the Perske to be confronted by Barnie Duncan’s alter-ego for the evening, Venezuelan Calypso DJ Juan Vesuvius. Vesuvius was spinning records as we entered, performing the worst cuts between songs imaginable… stop/start, awkward gaps, massive BPM swings, mistimed cutovers. It was mesmerisingly bad DJing, and bloody hilarious to watch him appear ever-so-pleased with himself upon every failure success.

When Vesuvius starts speaking to us, it’s in thickly accented Spanish; after a minute or so, he visibly recognises our confusion, and is startled to learn that we’re an English-speaking audience, prompting a re-start of the show. And then we’re into the “content” of the show: an aural exploration of calypso music and rhythms. He plays examples of Soca (“It mean… cunnilingus,” Vesuvius explained), and helpfully contrasted it to a bad German-language pop record (“…and this is German linguist.”).

Throughout, the music is a glorious mix of smooth latin grooves, afro-beat, and cheesey classics, all mixed together in Vesuvius’ inimitable style… and his comments, whether on love or war or the music itself, were brilliantly twisted and surreal: bedding a lover or calming the North Korean warmongering were equivalent problems in Juan’s eyes, and his explanation of the Mexican flag adorning his DJ desk was hilarious.

As usual, I – the only person brave enough to sit in the front row – got roped into being Vesuvius’ stagehand for the evening. Initially involved in a hilariously protracted attempt to light & hold up a candle (during which Vesuvius never broke eye contact, his eyes full of fear and panic… and lust), I eventually got dragged up onstage to help perform a romance scene (with the aid of some terrible record covers) and play maracas (and I’m a bloke: rhythm is not my strong suit). The devolution of the performance into a dance party denouement just felt perfect.

Calypso Nights became my number one recommendation of the Fringe: I thought it was absolutely brilliant fun, and could think of nothing more enjoyable that seeing this with a group of friends and a couple of beers. Here’s hoping that Barnie/Juan return for the 2016 Fringe, because I can think of a heap of new friends that would love to experience this madness.

[2015048] Adam Knox – Listen Closely, We Haven’t Much Time

[2015048] Adam Knox – Listen Closely, We Haven’t Much Time

Adam Knox @ Producers Cranny

10:00pm, Thu 19 Feb 2015

The same friend that had recommended Marcus Ryan had also urged me to catch Adam Knox’s last Adelaide show; this seemed like a great idea when I was planning, but – after tickets had been bought & the aforementioned shocker had been seen – I was feeling a bit… well, less-than-confident.

There’s not much of a crowd in, and – based on the other young comedians in the room, usually a good sign of comps on offer – I suspect that there weren’t that many tickets sold. And Knox – who is chirpy and affable, despite recognising the loss he’s probably making on the room – opens up with some friendly banter, before taking a dark turn into the description of his mugging on Hindley Street (or was it a mugging?).

Knox has a battery of jokes in his arsenal, usually based on short half-stories, and he has a knack of creating expectation with his delivery… but what he lacks is polish. There’s little in the way of segues between his jokes – unless you count references to his notebook – and some of his stories drift off into nothingness; his closing joke (involving a friend at an abortion clinic) had a great build-up and had me keenly anticipating the punch, but the final line lacked the impact that it needed to comfortably close the show off. And that, unfortunately, had me leaving the venue unsatisfied.

But let me give credit where credit’s due: Knox is certainly capable of writing a good joke… or even a heap of great jokes. But he appears to be unwilling to string them together in any structured way… and that just makes the whole show feel lazy.

[2015047] Gravity Boots presents: Sassy Monkey and the Black Onion Pudding

[2015047] Gravity Boots presents: Sassy Monkey and the Black Onion Pudding

Gravity Boots @ Tuxedo Cat – Cusack Theatre

8:30pm, Thu 19 Feb 2015

Let’s keep this one short and sweet: it’s well known that I love Gravity Boots, and nothing about this show is going to change that.

Even though I’d seen most of these surreal sketches during the Boots’ monthly rehearsal cycle last year, a few had changed: the Four Jars sketch (with the letter “P”) felt more compact, and Cat & Pig was absolutely taut. Radio Play was still a joyful meander into the mind of a lunatic, and the new Bookshop adventure was similarly bizarre.

Gravity Boots are still my favourite sketch comedy team, and Sassy Monkey and the Black Onion Pudding shows them at their surreal best. With imagination to burn – and the performance chops to bring their ideas to life – I doubt I’ll tire of their comedy anytime soon.

[2015046] A Hip Hikers Guide To The Galaxy

[2015046] A Hip Hikers Guide To The Galaxy

Backwards Anorak @ Tuxedo Cat – Mayall Room

7:15pm, Thu 19 Feb 2015

I’m the first punter in a pretty-full audience to enter the Mayall Room, and as soon as I see two people already sitting at either end of the front row I know that they’re plants for the show. I sit next to one of them and attempt to engage in small-talk; that did not go well, either because of her laser-like focus on the performance to come, or the fact that I was twice as old as everyone else in the room.

Opening with an embarrassingly self-unaware dance number, A Hip Hikers Guide is (surprisingly) an unrequited love story, featuring Prince Harian on a galactic quest to find a wife, whilst his doting slave-girl Minge tags along. There’s a bunch of songs (it was really cathartic to be part of the audience ensemble singing “Fuck off, Minge”), some really juvenile humour, and – yes – the two “audience” members who were in the room early were called onstage as indicative hipsters for the “Fuck Off, It’s My Time” song… which seemed apt.

There was something that really rubbed me the wrong way with A Hip Hikers Guide; maybe it was the costuming, which seemed to be a hipster sneer at the fashion of my beloved eighties. Or maybe it was the smutty (in a bad way) dialogue that seemed to be written for fifteen-year old boys. Or maybe it was the casual don’t-give-a-fuck-oh-maybe-I-really-do pretentiousness of the production…

Look – it’s fair to say that I was not the target audience for this show. It’s also fair to say that I really didn’t enjoy it all that much. But I’ll happily acknowledge that there was an almost belligerent confidence to its delivery that suggests that the Backwards Anorak team are delivering exactly what they want… I just don’t think that I’m interested in that show.

[2015045] This Can’t End Well

[2015045] This Can’t End Well

David Innes @ The Science Exchange – Boardroom (RiAus)

6:00pm, Thu 19 Feb 2015

The RiAus has a bunch of wonderful – though under-used – performance spaces, but there’s a teensy little problem with the Boardroom: if it’s a light-ish crowd (and there were maybe only a third of the seats filled for this performance), it becomes a sleepy space, and… well… look, I was forty-odd shows into my Fringe. I may have dozed a little.

This Can’t End Well is a solo piece in which David Innes plays three characters from different generations in the same family. Each character is buffeted by an element of conflict: the great-grandmother, one of the few female scientists of her day, is spurned by her husband as she continues her research into acetone. The grandfather suffers from class inferiority, comically alternating between mellifluous play readings and his working-class voice. And there’s another character facing the prospect of coming out to his conservative family.

Innes delivers these three interleaved narratives with a sweet earnestness… and a truckload of humour. Even in the darkest moments of the performance, there’s another deliciously awful – and often highbrow! – pun right around the corner. The text is also surprisingly clever: there’s a lot of literary, scientific, and pop-culture references that could slide by if you weren’t aware of the topic… and I’m certain I missed a few!

Most of all, though, This Can’t End Well was a thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre, perfectly suited to the RiAus (though I could have done without the DozeyRoom!). But the most memorable moment for me was entirely selfish: as the play closed out, Innes remarked “Not all stories can end well…”. At that very moment, my phone – which, for some reason, I’d left on Silent rather than Aeroplane Mode – buzzed in my pocket, and I knew (without looking) that it was my girlfriend sending me a sweet, sweet message. And my brain just sookily popped out a retort to Innes’ line: “No. Some stories can end brilliantly.”

[2015044] HEX

[2015044] HEX

James Welsby @ Royal Croquet Club – The Black Box

11:00pm, Wed 18 Feb 2015

It had not ben a great night of entertainment thus far, and I found myself running – well, jogging at a fair clip – halfway across a humid city to make it to HEX on time. I arrived just as the tail of the queue entered The Black Box, so I took a seat on an aisle and waited for the torrent of sweat to begin. And, as I waited, I tried to recollect what I knew about HEX… and the answer was a big fat bugger all. It had been heavily recommended by multiple friends, and it was supposedly a dance performance… but that was all the knowledge I had prior to the performance.

The lights drop, and there’s a few “woo!”s from the boisterous opening-night crowd. Low notes start playing, and everything starts feeling ominous. An immediately identifiable Grim Reaper very deliberately makes its way to the centre of the stage. Everything becomes super ominous.

And then a massive disco freakout happens. And it was glorious.

All of a sudden, HEX became an almost aggressively joyful dance piece… and the dancers (director/choreographer James Welsby, James Andrews, and Chafia Brooks) were excellent. The choreography makes full use of the space (and leverages the raked seating), creating a very dynamic performance. And Claudio Tocco’s sound design – including the gorgeous noise texture piece in the middle of the show – was absolutely perfect.

It struck me (within the opening third) that The Grim Reaper reminded me of the old AIDS awareness ads that ran on TV when I was in high school… and then it all made sense. HEX felt like a stylised peek at late-eighties gay club culture: the exuberance of the opening third, the powerful realisation of the threat accompanies the textured middle, with a bit of reclamation in the final act. The symbolic snapping of the Reaper’s scythe at the end of the show intimates that lessons have been learnt, and the spirit will not be dominated.

Even if I’ve got the message all wrong, I love love loved HEX. It was smart, it was funny, it was playful, it was bleak; and, most of all, it was genuinely exciting dance and movement.