[20060081] Hot Pink Bits

Hot Pink Bits

Penash Productions @ The Chandelier Room (Freemasons)

6:45pm, Thu 16 Mar 2006

Yet another Kiwi in The Chandelier Room, and Penny Ashton (no, that link isn’t a porn site) is certainly up there with the best of them. Presenting a frivolous blend of song, poetry, glitzy costumes, and standup, she gave the great crowd (reviews and word-of-mouth have obviously been kind to her) a quality show.

Singing over pre-recorded backing tracks, her lyrics are witty – the rap & western songs being standout; her poetry (especially the Angry Poem) was miles better than other poetry seen in FF2006; and from a crowd perspective, Penny was just plain fun – friendly, affable, with just the right mix of self-appreciation and self-denigration.

Great singing, great humour, great stage presence – what’s not to love?

[20060080] hmmm…

hmmm…

Nicholas Sun @ Club 199

9:30pm, Wed 15 Mar 2006

Nick Sun was a revelation at the Fringe Benefit: I thought his self-deprecating style was great, and immediately slotted this show into The Schedule. And now here I was, upstairs in Club 199, with maybe a dozen other punters, willing Nick on to unleash his comedic force. Waiting to be entertained, to be guided on a journey of comfortable mirth.

Ummm…

…this was not that kind of show.

This is, quite frankly, astonishingly difficult to write about. Everything that I instinctively want to commit to this post makes it seem like Sun is the duddest of the duds, the most painful comic that I’ve been witness to – but that’s so far from the truth.

First up, the content… he plays the burnt-out standup character with aplomb, draws heavily on his Adelaide and UK experiences (backpacker hostel stories, handing out flyers in the Mall, heckles from bums), and leverages his asian appearance to get some laughs from the four asian pre-paids in the front tables of the Club. But he’s at his best when making fun of himself – responding to audience silence with “I’m not actually a comic, I’m a motivational speaker”, and managing expectations by reminding us “fuck it – it’s seven bucks”.

Style-wise, there’s a few obvious Bill Hicks-isms – the “waffle waitress” is transformed into a taxi driver, the talking to himself onstage. There’s a lot of pregnant pauses that are as much the audience’s doing as his, but you get the feeling that Sun doesn’t mind that at all. He’s not afraid to admit a mistake, and showed a willingness to back out of jokes not going anywhere.

Perhaps I just found it easy to identify with him. Sun claims that he’s not anti-social, just pro-solitude (just like me). Also like me, he’s a pessimist… “there’s only so many times you can be raped by hope before you realise you’re in an abusive relationship.” Uh, maybe we’re not that similar after all. But some tracts of dialogue are so full of longing, of desperation, of lonely melancholy, that they almost invoke genuine pity – but then the laughs kick in, and the pity is pushed to the back of your brain in bewilderment.

Highlights? His (half-a-star) review of his ‘Tiser review was full of honest hatred and disgust; starting off reasonably gentle, it rapidly descends into a vicious skull-fucking tirade that was both shocking and gut-bustingly funny. And it’s long scripted diatribes such as this that are Sun’s forte; his use of language, his careful placement of words, and the menace behind them is, frankly, without equal.

Finally, about 40 minutes in, he crouches – literally hiding from the audience – behind the DJ’s desk and plays a couple of minutes of a recording by another comedian. Then he starts playing the theme from Twin Peaks, and it’s beautiful; it suits the melancholy to which he clutches perfectly. The final twenty minutes are a confronting mix of noise from the DJ desk mixed with Sun’s descent into complete self-annihilation. He continues hiding from the audience behind the desk, breathing into the feedback-treated mike, occasionally begging the audience to leave, reminding us that our problems are still waiting to be faced; unsure, and terribly uncomfortable, the audience eventually wanders out of Club 199 into the misting rain.

In short, Nick Sun is a comic genius… no, that’s disingenuous. He’s my comic hero.

A little diversion…

Post-Diablo, I went to relieve myself as only a man who requires bladder relief can. Nothing unusual there, and the Belgian Beer Café’s facilities were in glorious condition. However, I spied some folded paper on the floor as I was leaving the scene of the crime.

Now, I don’t want to give people the impression that I’m some sort of toilet-garbage collecting freak, but I thought that the content of the paper was worth collecting and sharing. It bears no resemblance to any work I’ve ever seen performed, which is probably fair enough; still, here it is in all its transcribed glory.

I’ve had trouble looking for a job. The centrelink lady said it’s my resume. She said it doesn’t stand out enough.

So when I applied for my next job I though ok..how am I going to force an employer to notice me above 100’s of other applications.
So I sent them a singing telegram. This is what happened…

OR
How are you supposed to get an employer to take notice above 100’s of other applications?? Send in a singing telegram or something??

The joke is… . I cant get attention so I have an over the top resume

One of the employers actually sent me a nasty letter back.
It read
“its ludicrous you would even consider that you could gain the respect of an employer for this stunt.
It shows you are reckless, audacious and lack maturity.
You caused a disruption and upset myself and my employees and I would appreciate a formal letter of appology from you.

So I responded. I was going to send another singing telegram. Instead I sent a prostitute. Just my way of saying get fucked!

So during the week I saw this it’s a new lynx mens shower called ignite.

That claims to be made of volcanoes. That’s ridiculous
Listen to this lynx ignite with stimulating…

In the mood.. to do what exactly? Destroy villages?
The thing is most volcanoes lay dormant for 100’s of years. So this isnt going to do anything..

I though no ill give it a go so I showered before the show. So your lucky really. cause last weeks audience really copped it!
And yeah so I rubbed volcanoes over myself and went out to see if it would make a difference..here’s what happened.

Normally, I’d say “if this is your work and you want me to remove this blog entry, let me know and I’ll do so.” However, given the number of readers of this blog (total: 2) and the quality of the work in question, I think the “Delete” button’s pretty safe.

[20060079] Diablo

Diablo

Brasch House @ Belgian Beer Café

8:00pm, Wed 15 Mar 2006

I read the description for Diablo in the Fringe Guide…

We at Diablo refuse to describe our show in fifty words. However we will take this opportunity to voice our opinion of Chickens. We think they’re stupid.

How could you not want to see a show that describes itself like that?

Diablo turned out to be a dual-standup gig featuring Chris Wainhouse and Paul Brasch (this team was known as “Diablo 2” – “Diablo 1” being Paul Brasch and (the enigmatically-named) Davo). As far as standup goes, it covered a the usual topics – how crap Adelaide is, et al – and also chased a few unusual threads… the recurring cavemen jokes (mobile phones, pigs) were… odd.

The thing that differentiated this performance from other standup was the attitude, the venom. The lads weren’t afraid of making enemies or alienating the audience… when they decided to rip into Quentin, they really tore into him, good taste and political correctness be damned. Wainhouse, in particular, took this approach to the extreme – he was all piss and bitterness, no sugar.

Well, bugger all people found a reason to see Diablo in action; the few stragglers from the previous event in the Belgian Beer Café who hung around to see this show gratis soon left in disgust. In fact, by the time the guys onstage asked for the house lights to be raised, there was no-one sitting in front of Wainhouse – which actually seemed to spur him on.

As for me… I fucking loved this show. The groan-worthy bits (mostly Brasch) were more than eclipsed by the sheer nasty diggery of Wainhouse’s “Smiling Nazi” comedy-fu. Some of the jokes broke through the boundaries of good taste and went roaming into areas of maybe-free-speech-isn’t-all-it’s-cracked-up-to-be, but it never stopped being funny. Sure, you felt guilty as hell for laughing, but… you were still laughing.

Post-gig, I bumped into Wainhouse and congratulated him on what I thought was a great show. He grinned, genuinely gentle in person, and proceeded to explain how Diablo was essentially an experiment to see whether the three of them (Diablans?) could work together. All I can say to that is: yes. Yes, you can.

[20060078] The von Trolley Quartet

The von Trolley Quartet

@ The Gaiety Grande

7:00pm, Wed 15 Mar 2006

I was a bit pissed at the von Trolleys after cancelling their 4pm Monday show in favour of performing the musical backing for the Busker Competition finalists; however, the Gaiety Grande peeps honoured my ticket for this evening’s performance, which I presumed would also be cancelled due to the miniscule audience.

There were six of us.

Veronica, Tracey, Amy, Stuart, Mary-Anne, and myself.

These names I know, because the von Trolleys asked that we introduce ourselves.

And then insisted on leading us on a merry chase outside and around the Gaiety Grande, bookended between 30 second snippets of music.

Music… ah yes, the music. For those who don’t know, The von Trolley Quartet are three clowns who play big rock style with tiny instruments. Ukulele-sized guitar, tiny bass, and a drumkit with a bass the size of a dinner plate, a snare the size of a cup. Comical in appearance, but ferociously talented, they tore through the Star Wars theme, some classic Kiss (“I Was Made For Lovin’ You”), and even AC/DC (“It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”). A quick visit from Barbara The Musical Sheep (Baabraa?), a few more ditties, and our 50 minutes is up.

Short, sharp, sweet… and memorable. The von Trolleys were ace.

[20060077] A Conversation

A Conversation

Stir Theatre @ UniSA City West (HH5-08)

12:00pm, Wed 15 Mar 2006

Utilising the concept of restorative justice, David Williamson’s A Conversation explores the complex and prickly emotions surrounding violent crime. The restorative justice angle allows Williamson to tackle issues on both sides of the criminal/victim fence; the end result, whilst not the most polished gem, is certainly engaging and thought-provoking.

The lecture theatre venue creates an odd feel as the characters arrive for their meeting; Derek and Barbara, the parents of a girl brutally raped and murdered by a young man currently up for parole review. The man’s mother, uncle, and siblings appeal to the girls parents for compassion, offering up their own grief to counter that of the victims. Facilitating the meeting is Williamson’s anti-hero Jack Manning (under-played by a Ledger-esque Tristan Hudson), whose most aggressive act is bullying lawyer Gail into staying for the meeting too.

The initial interactions play out as you’d expect – Derek, the grief-stricken holier-than-thou father, surrounds his pain with hard facts, his confrontational nature making the meeting seem pointless. The family of the perpetrator trot out the “we know he’s a bad egg, but he’s family” line. The accusations seem to repeat themselves ad infinitum. But then subtle changes occur, as evidenced by the targets of blame. The boy, the girl, the lawyer, the suburb, the government, society in general – all are brought to bear by Williamson, and none are allowed to remain white or black. Choice versus opportunity (or lack thereof) is another theme that seems to permeate the script that didn’t feel afraid to point fingers everywhere and offer no real solutions.

The cast is patchy – there’s some delightful character work (witness the tense coffee-making ceremony of Bob and Coral), but also some dead weight (Mick and Lorin, the criminal’s very different siblings, are each annoying in their own unique ways). As previously mentioned, the central character of Jack is perhaps too soft; but the pivotal roles of Derek and Barbara (Patrick Frost and Helen Geoffreys, respectively) were utterly convincing – recalling Derek roar “he’s not part of my world” still brings chills.

As I write this, I’m struck by the similarities this piece has to 12 Angry Men, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing… both presented a seemingly cut-and-dried scenario, then twisted it into a compassionate pretzel. At 2 hours, A Conversation is perhaps a touch over-long, and the constantly circling script (loops of blame, guilt, responsibility abound) and repeated phrases treat the audience with all the subtlety that one expects from the classic Australian playwright. But sometimes the sledgehammer approach is the best way to make your point; A Conversation certainly demonstrates this by frequently smacking us soundly with the premise, and letting us draw our own conclusions. Satisfying stuff, indeed.

[20060076] La Clique

La Clique… A Sideshow Burlesque

La Clique @ The Famous Spiegeltent

10:30pm, Tue 14 Mar 2006

After a plethora of huge raves about its spectacular and refined nature, La Clique became the hottest ticket of the Fringe, selling out the last dozen or so performances. The capacity of the Spiegeltent, multiplied by $30/head, means that this show was causing some serious turnover. So I was pretty happy to snaffle my ticket; but imagine my joy when I arrive at the venue half an hour before the scheduled start of the show and find the queue twisting and turning around the Garden, hundreds of people patiently waiting.

Shit.

My luck didn’t pan out as well as it did with The Burlesque Hour, either, though I still scored a reasonable fourth row seat. Reasonable view of the centre stage, and at least I wasn’t standing like the peeps at the very end of the queue.

The show opened with a nice bit of operatic singing by Ali McGregor – all very lovely, but it triggered the “style over substance” warning bells in my head. The Dual Acrobats… er, The English Gents, runners-up in the busker’s competition(!) on the weekend, came out next – they’re bloody brilliant, quite astonishingly powerful fellows who amaze with style and grace; superb control, strength, and balance. But what were they doing in the busker’s competition in the first place? Don’t they already have a professional gig? Ho hum, that’s a whinge for another day.

Miss Behave appears for a cheeky little play with the crowd, then Captain Frodo performs his gob-smacking tennis racquet trick – twisting, breaking, and contorting himself through not one, but two racquet heads. There’s equal parts gross-out, incredulity, and lunatic giggling as we watched him flail about the stage, limbs pinned and shoulders popped, sending his microphone flying. Amazing stuff. The first act is rounded out by Ursula Martinez performing a bit of strip magic – ooooh, ever-so-risque, she’s pulled her hidden silk out from her unmentionables! Gasp, shock, horror, titillate… but funny nonetheless.

The second act starts with a little more operatics, then Ursula returns (with clothes) for a bit of cockney spanish guitar. Captain Frodo did a balancing act, perching atop an unfeasibly high pyramid of cans, though I could’ve sworn I’d seen this act a couple of years ago. Miss Behave does a decent sword swallowing act, and then comes the finale – the powerful David O’Mer performing feats of strength and balance, clad only in snugly fitting jeans. This is the act that provided the spectacular imagery for La Clique‘s advertising; you could hear all the women (and, truth be told, most of the men) in the Spiegeltent swoon every time O’Mer slowly raised himself out of his bathtub using his overhead ropes – muscles taut, this act was all about control.

It wasn’t all highlights, though – the trapeze act was average (certainly in comparison to the other acts), and the most spectacular thing about the hoops bit was the proximity to the crowd. But overall, La Clique is certainly a comprehensive and enjoyable collection of acts. But let’s face it, it’s hardly the most ground-breaking or risqué act at the Fringe; but they’ll be happy to take the money off the crowds who are convinced that it is.

[20060075] The Forsythe Company – Three Atmospheric Studies

The Forsythe Company – Three Atmospheric Studies

The Forsythe Company @ Festival Theatre

8:00pm, Tue 14 Mar 2006

After being so disappointed with Devolution – and so envigorated by Stau – I was unsure what the Festival’s dance program was going to serve up for this piece. William Forsythe (in all the references I could find) is lauded as being at the forefront of contemporary ballet; oh look, the C-word! “C” implies a lucky dip, at the best of times. Thankfully, Three Atmospheric Studies provided a very pleasant surprise.

It’s a three-act piece derived from the impact of two images upon Forsythe – one a photo of an Iraqi policeman carrying the dead body of a young man, his mother grieving in the background; the other a Crucifixion-inspired painting, with – as Leigh Warren so perfectly described – another grief-stricken mother whose son has been sacrificed. One a raw depiction, the other a synthetic concoction – but both depicting the same emotion. Different textures, same message.

The “story” associated with the performance starts with the arrest of a young man in Act I. This piece is reminiscent of Rosas’ Drumming – it’s a dynamic cacophony of movement, with the ensemble of 12+ dancers running, panting, sweating, grabbing, clutching, falling into each other. It feels desperate, urgent, violent; at times it’s a rabble, at times it’s a vogue-fest, but there’s something there that reminds you that it’s choreographed. Maybe it’s the pregnant pauses, the looks across the stage (which is completely open in this Act, stretching waaaaaaay back into the theatre), before one slaps the floor heavily, launching into the next movement. The only noise accompanying the movement is that emitted by the dancers – Forsythe’s “breath score”.

Suddenly, we’re into Act II; the dancers (each simply clad, identifiable by their uniquely-coloured shirts) make way for the stage crew who, armed with set walls, power drills, and a single long piece of string, create the set right before our eyes (a dance in itself). Here we see the arrested man’s mother plead her son’s case through an interpreter; it’s a theatrical, dialog-heavy piece that’s almost free of movement – certainly not your typical blank-expression ballet. It’s a troubling performance, as the woman struggles just to communicate with her liaise. As her frustration and rage increases, so does the tempo of delivery – and suddenly a threshold is reached, and her speech morphs into some kind of discordant Lynchian broken dialog… utterly, utterly disturbing.

And even more suddenly, there’s an interval. Bewildered looks, nervous smiles; an uncomfortable audience.

Ace.

Act III is off to an odd start; another set has been assembled, and the colourful ensemble is back, alternately reprising their style from Act I, then languishing at the edge of the stage. There’s a wireless microphone or two amongst the group, occasionally passed from person to person; it’s heavily treated so that the gutteral noises that are barked into it by the dancers reach us as weird, phasey punches. The walls of the set, too, are miked up; as performers enter the set, throwing the door shut behind them, the booming slam shudders through the audience. Again, it’s just plain disturbing. The woman from Act II is informed that her son is dead; as she grieves, a character monotones a coolly analytical view of human carnage. The dancers slow somewhat; a few act as puppeteers for others.

At the end of the day, it’s kind of difficult to describe this as dance… well, as dance as the vast populace would identify with. Then again, I’ll happily profess complete ignorance of the medium; but the Festival always seems to present pieces that straddle the line of that which I can happily identify as “dance” (1998: Who’s Afraid Of Anything, 2000: Drumming, 2002: Delirium, 2004: Held – the reason why Devolution was such a disappointment). Three Atmospheric Studies is more akin to the type of performance that we’d expect from a Fringe live visual arts performance, but polished to the n-th degree.

But that’s in no way a negative comment; this was bold, vibrant, active, and engaging across all levels; a thoroughly rewarding and cerebral performance. And – truth be told – I was amazed at the lack of people who left at the interval. Bravo, patrons; you were certainly a more tolerant bunch than those at other events.

Overheard during the interval: “Devolution was wonderful… at the end, the people looked like machines, and the machines looked like people.” Ummm… no. At the end, the people looked like people with chunks of broken metal strapped to them, and the machines looked like machines. Intent alone does not guarantee outcome.

Whoopsee-doodle…

Erm… yes. Well, then.

The Festivals ended nearly five weeks ago. “No problems,” I thought, “only twenty shows left to write up. Piece of piss, that. A couple-a-night after work, easy. Should wrap this up quick.”

But on the first night, the desire to sleep was too strong. The following night saw us toddling off to the Lord Mayor’s Reception to celebrate the success of the Festival. The following night we started catching up on all the TV that we’d missed over the Festival. The next day… ooh shit, the next day was the release of the Xbox 360.

As I often said to various peeps, I only really get out and get theatre-y for three weeks out of 104; the other 101 weeks, I’m a gamer. And I was looking forward to the release of the 360 greatly (if only for the appearance of Neon, the latest light-synthesizer from Llamasoft). So I picked up my 360 and a trio of games on release day, toddled home, hooked up my Xbox Live account, and…

…that pretty much brings us up to date.

And I’ve still got twenty shows left to write up.

Luckily, my memory still holds a lot of snippets, I’ve got a stack of scribbled notes, and some words have been stewing over those five weeks. Some write-ups may even benefit from the break.

But I’ve still got to write the buggers, eh?

At least I’ll have a somewhat easier time of it, having come across (in the course of my usual diligent recycling duties) a plethora of other press coverage from events. Russell Starke, for example, enjoyed Here Lies Love about as much as I did; as usual, though, he got the point across much better: “Cut by half; eliminate Byrne as narrator; rewrite the script with greater guts; put some punch into the performances; liven up lighting and film imagery; and maybe there’d be the potential for a show.” (emphasis mine).

Several weeks later…

OK, so then there was another setback… the server that this blog was hosted on died. Backups were discovered to be less-than-robust, which meant I lost a few comments and the two reviews that I’d posted after I wrote the above. But we’re back on track now… though the Xbox Live Gamer Card looks more like this now:

So I guess you can see what I’ve been focussing on ;)

[20060074] sixatsix

sixatsix

Unhinged Incorporated @ The Pillar Room (Freemasons)

6:00pm, Tue 14 Mar 2006

I had great reservations heading into this; for starters, I couldn’t remember quite why I’d booked tickets to the show. All fears were dispelled, however, with the first of the six short plays (played by members of Wollongong’s Unhinged Incorporated collective) on offer.

  • A Hole sees a seedy politician after a bit of action in his discrete hotel room. Samuel Booth is the ultimate sleaze, but Katrina Rautenberg is superb as his date for the evening… with a twist.

  • Freedom Pigeon is a twisted vision of the future, and wryly funny too.
  • I…(Door) is a thought-provoking, overtly existential piece.
  • Fruit Tingles was, for me, the flat spot in the performance; though others loved this fruity tale.
  • Tramp introduces the awesome character of Scott Godot (IIRC) who we’re sure to see more of… an incredible street beat poet, swearing like a trooper. Fan-fucking-tastic.
  • Last Resort rounds out the collection with the invention of The Last Resort… your own little suicide machine. Fast, fun, furious, fabulous – with a brilliant ending.

Throughout all six pieces, there seems to be a political bent; subtle in some (2), more overt in others (the seedy politicians in the first, the Liberal Party jingle being responsible for suicides in the last). But pigeons come in for a lot of abuse too, so there’s no need to read too much into it. And nothing can deny the quality and sheer enjoyability of the hour of theatre on offer.

[20060073] 160 Characters

160 Characters

Vanilla Productions @ The Umbrella Revolution

8:30pm, Mon 13 Mar 2006

As the audience is seated – we’re cheekily reminded to keep our phones on – a mobile number is presented; we’re asked to forward SMS messages from our Inboxes to the number. It’s explicitly stated that we’re not to write new messages, just share messages we’ve been sent or have written.

The mobile phone attached to the provided number starts beeping like a very rapidly beepy thing. Its Inbox fills up… and we’re off.

The six people in Vanilla Productions take turns selecting interesting messages from the phone, using them as inspiration for a spot of improvisational comedic theatre. They’re all competent at improv, some of the twists they subject each other too were brilliantly off the wall, and it was a pleasant old laugh – especially when the team tried their hand at Kiwi accents.

This turned out a little different to what I was expecting; I guess the idea I’d created was that the action would be interactively controlled by the audience. Alas, things were a little more static than that; essentially, this just boiled down to a bit of TheatreSports with a hook to bring in the audience.

Not a shitty show but, having experienced it, not one I’d rush off to again.

[20060072] LaLaLuna

LaLaLuna

Negus Productions @ The Umbrella Revolution

7:00pm, Mon 13 Mar 2006

It should be known, up front, that I’m not a fan of Cirque du Soleil; I find their brand of loosely-referential acrobatics and trickery, drowned in a sticky syrup of whimsy, quite sickening. A little like Balfour’s Frog Cakes, really – looks pretty, and is lovely – until you’ve eaten one whole, whence you’re sick to your stomach with ickiness.

Which is a shame for the LaLaLuna show – because it’s like a one-man, budget Cirque du Soleil production. Sure, there’s some great tricks in there – like the balloon stunt, in which a giant balloon is inflated, and is then climbed inside – but it’s enveloped in this sweet, smug bubblewrap that had me reaching for the vomit bag.

There’s obviously a bit more money than your average Fringe production behind this – it’s certainly not your average one-chair-prop gig – but it’s delivered a generally dull product.

[20060071] Up In Smoke

Up In Smoke

CirKidz @ Sideshow Paradiso

5:00pm, Mon 13 Mar 2006

First up – not the greatest circus act I’ve ever seen. Not even close.

That’s because we’re talking about Adelaide’s own CirKidz here – essentially, young performers in training… emphasis on the young. So there’s none of the death-defying stuff that we (I) am becoming a bit blasé about, because let’s face it – who wants to see a kid hurt themselves?

So this ragged collection of children go through their selection of tumbling, balancing, trapeze and hoop-work. Yes, their presentation skills aren’t up to scratch. Yes, they bugger up the odd trick or four. Yes, the theatrical components are often over-acted to the point of absurdity.

But you know what?

You can just sense that, in two years time, rather than unfurling themselves for three rolls on the tissue, one of these little buggers will be rolling down from the roof. Of a very large tent. And bringing the audience to their feet with applause.

However – with the exception of the eldest boy in the group (who was quite insanely flexible) – it’d be hard to argue this was worth it, in entertainment terms. And the “ticketing” was poorly handled, to say the least.

[20060070] OzStar Airlines

OzStar Airlines

@ The Gaiety Grande

2:00pm, Mon 13 Mar 2006

The two stewardesses for OzStar airline sure are a versatile pair; not only do they hula-hoop and juggle, they also manage to keep a stack of kids quiet for an entire flight. Now, whilst OzStar might not offer much new – although the juggling act that ended with a fried egg (!) certainly was original – they certainly bring enthusiasm to the table.

The girls maintain the stewardess motif for as long as possible before discarding their (nice) uniforms for something a little more delectable (for the men in the audience, anyway). Thereafter there’s more hoop tricks, leading to a pretty impressive finale, with one standing on top of the other whilst hula-hooping away!

Being utterly honest – and I’m pretty sure that the stewardesses will agree with me here – I’m not completely sure that the girls were in complete control during the latter stages of the performance. There’s every opportunity of a lawsuit in The Gaiety Grand at some stage; telling the kids in the audience “kids, if you see Tracey getting really big, just act small and fluffy and soft” probably doesn’t help much. But, as I said before, the staff behind OzStar are certainly enthusiastic – and we all know that enthusiasm is infectious.

[20060069] Die Roten Punkte

Die Roten Punkte

@ The Gaiety Grande

12:00pm, Mon 13 Mar 2006

Ha ha haaaaa, ahaaa ha haaaa.

Fantastic, just fantastic.

Yes, it’s a short show, weighing in at a tiny 40 minutes. Yes, they only really had five songs (what with the first three songs being… um… identical). But, dear God, they were fantastic.

“Die Roten Punkte” is German, of course, for “The Red Dots”. They are (or rather, claim to be) a brother/sister duo – Otto Rot on guitar, Astrid Rot on drums. And for siblings, they certainly do appear to be… ummm… close.

Hmmmm. That couldn’t be a piss-take of The White Stripes, could it?

Naaaaaaaaaaaah.

Anyhoo, their songs – The First/Second/Third Song, “Die Roten Punkte”, The Explanation Song (and a delightful cover of The Carpenters’ “Close To You”) – are performed with all the subtlety of the aforementioned Stripes, but there’s a wonderful changeup in Otto’s industrial-tinged german electro-pop.

“Close To You” is, of course, used as a dedication to an audience member – and for this performance, the target of the dedication was none other than Pluck’s Jon Regan. Pluck, in general, really seemed appreciative of Die Roten Punkte. Me? I loved it. Loved it. More music references than you can poke a stick at, more gut-laughs than you can imagine.

The set-list:

  • Song 1

  • Song 2
  • Song 3
  • Dedication
  • Song 4
  • Song 5
  • Song 6

Yes, really.

And, for the record, I went back and watched their 3:00pm show, too. Brilliant.