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.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 21, 2015