[2008076] Acrobat – Smaller, Poorer, Cheaper

Acrobat – Smaller, Poorer, Cheaper (FringeTIX)

Acrobat @ The Garden of Unearthly Delights (Acrobat Venue)

8:30pm, Sun 9 Mar 2008

Just reading back on Acrobat’s act from 2002, I really gave them a rave. And, if anything, their show has got even more rave-worthy since.

They’re not in the Umbrella Revolution anymore, opting instead for a rather lower-rent custom outdoor venue. And, when Garden staff announce before the show “Just a little warning… this performance does contain nudity”, heed that warning – because the next person you see will be a stark naked woman.

In fact, clothing doesn’t make an appearance until about 10 minutes into the act… and then, only fleetingly. Jo Lancaster is a ridiculously good tumbler and her strength belies her scrawny appearance. Mozes does his naked hanky-hiding antics – still as deliriously funny as every – and some fantastic trapeze work. There’s also a gorgeous routine with a red rope… oh wait, that’s blood dripping down… ummm… wow… Simon Yates is the only performer that works with a semblance of clothed modesty, performing his “life on a tightrope” routine and some incredible flips.

All the acts are very self-contained – after all, each performer is responsible for their own twenty-minute solo act (though there’s some wonderfully avant atonal live musical accompaniment). And, despite the familiarity to the previous Acrobat show (the only really new piece I can remember was Mozes’ roller-skating antics), it’s actually improved over the original performance.

It all feels so fresh and – as I remarked six years ago – so real. You’re up close and very personal with this raw, uncompromising, and extremely talented group. It’s astounding reading about the trials of the Acrobat crew since we last saw them, but none of that matters now – because they’re here, they’re in your face, and they’re brilliant.

Watching Mozes’ extended nude performance (including a bizarre aerial trick where he spun around a rope horizontally, genitals a-dangling), he finally donned some pants – presumably to keep his tackle safe during the next trick. “Thank god for that,” muttered the teenaged boy in front of me. Funny!

[2008075] Wearing Away Our Lips

Wearing Away Our Lips (FringeTIX)

Playground @ Viva Function Centre

7:00pm, Sun 9 Mar 2008

A tough one, this. After the strength of the dance piece in last year’s [interrobang], I wanted to love – nay, adore – this piece so much; unfortunately, hindsight lets me find more flaws than I would like.

Inasmuch as I can interpret contemporary dance, Wearing Away Our Lips deals with the girl’s night out – from the self-conscious preening, through the frantic dancing, to the morning-after full of regret. I’m pretty certain of that. What I am uncertain of, however, is the quality of the dance therein – and the direction of the piece itself.

First problem: the venue. The Viva provides a great raised stage and a large dance-floor; but the audience surrounds the dance-floor, with very few optimal seating positions. With supporting columns bordering the space, most present would have had obstructed views; an inspired move would have been to plonk the audience on the stage, looking down onto the dancers.

Second problem: the direction. There’s a lovely bit of backlit shadow-screening that bookends the performance, but for half the audience this would have been nigh-on unviewable – either because of obstructed view or angle relative to the screen. Likewise, a fair bit of the dance took place low to the ground – crouches, rolls – and would have made difficult viewing for those not on the very edge of the arena.

Third problem: there’s a five minute pre-recorded video piece half-way through the performance. It was, in a word, awful. I reckon I know what they were aiming for, and I certainly don’t begrudge them a rest during the show, but the video felt horribly amateurish.

As I said before, I really wanted to love this. I very, very much enjoyed the girls’ work last year, but there was just too much wrong with this piece. Their dance in [interrobang] worked because it was a very time-constrained piece in a very space-constrained venue; here, neither of those constraints applied, and the performance sadly suffered for it (though I enjoyed it far, far more than my companion did – she was scathing). Kate and the gang are still on The List – I reckon they’ve still got a good eye for the bigger picture, and a lot of the physical movement was lovely – but with a little more reserved consideration now.

[2008074] Ollie and the Minotaur

Ollie and the Minotaur (FringeTIX)

floogle @ one forty five

5:00pm, Sun 9 Mar 2008

Ollie and the Minotaur has a massive buzz around it; it seems to be a darling of critics and crowds alike, and I’ve yet to hear a less-than-exemplary word said about it. But I walk into the theatre at one forty five not knowing anything about the story; and I was very surprised to find that it’s simply three girls talking in a lounge.

There’s obviously more to it than that – emotional trauma galore, with some twists and turns and plenty of angst and tears. But, without giving the plot away, that’s about all there is to it.

And that all sounds pretty dismissive. It’s not supposed to be; I really, really enjoyed Ollie and the Minotaur. It’s fantastically tight writing, and all three actresses are superb – Thea (Wendy Bos) was gorgeously smug for the most part, Carla (Adriana Bonaccurso) provided huge grins with her variations in mood and volume, and Sarah Brokensha’s Bec – who I initially thought was the weakest of the three – wound up being the most memorable.


The twist, the revelation, turns things a bit too quickly for me. In the context of the rest of the performance, I didn’t think the character’s responses were realistic, were believable. Let me, for the purposes of future reference, be quite explicit: Thea turns on Bec way too quickly. That she would do so to her best friend is undeniable, given the details of the reveal; but the speed with which it happened just didn’t feel Real to me.

This troubled me because – as previously mentioned – I thought the rest of Ollie and the Minotaur was excellent; still, it was already running well into arse-numbing time on a hot Sunday afternoon. But that one little factoid really made me wonder what all the fuss was about, what all the raving was about; yes, Ollie was great, but it wasn’t that great.

[2008073] Playing Burton

Playing Burton (FringeTIX)

Josh Richards @ Holden Street Theatres (The Arch)

2:00pm, Sun 9 Mar 2008

It’s a hot day. Stinking hot. It’s also my birthday! Yay. And, as usual for my birthday, I’ve carefully selected a bunch of shows that I reckon will be winners from beginning to end. Now, this rarely – and by “rarely”, I mean “never” – works out well; there was one particularly solemn year where most of my “choice” selections were shit-on-a-stick, with the finale being one of the most embarrassing shows I’ve been witness to. But every year, I hope for more; every year, I’m convinced I’ve got it right.

If anything, I figured that Playing Burton was the weak link in this year’s lineup; how wrong – how very wrong I was.

So – hot day. We’re in The Arch at Holden Street – I suspect that’s because Richards (who, as the title suggests, is playing Richard Burton) chain-smokes his way through the performance. But The Fear that The Arch will be sweltering is short-lived – it’s lovely inside, and the puny air conditioner does a great job until it starts relentlessly dripping onto the floor during a quiet passage. The stage is empty, save for a chair and small table with a bottle of vodka, a glass, and an ashtray. The lights dim, and a recording of the news announcement regarding Burton’s death is played.

Richards appears, and he is Burton, coolly listening to his own radio obit. And when he speaks, beginning the tale of his life, he commands respect with a forceful punch. And his tale is wonderfully engaging, and beautifully told – it’s all in the contrast of his voice, from that low growl to a room-bloating boom. Time is marked by his demolition of the vodka, which disappears at an exponential rate.

The last ten minutes or so are riveting – speech becomes slurred, movements imprecise. You know the end is near when he falls over, drunk, and only regains his feet after a long pause. Further movements are timid, except where the bottle is concerned.

Now, I’m no Burton aficionado, but I’ll be buggered if he wasn’t in that theatre. Richards is magic in this production, with a massive presence in this small theatre, and utterly convincing. Far from being the weak link of the day, Playing Burton was a major highlight.

[2008072] Laurence Clark – 12% Evil

Laurence Clark – 12% Evil (FringeTIX)

Laurence Clark @ Fowler’s Live

9:30pm, Sat 8 Mar 2008

It’d be easy to argue that Laurence Clark is a one-trick pony, relying on his cerebral palsy to garner a sympathetic response to a sub-standard comedy routine; but, luckily for the audience, that’s not actually the case. Yes, Clark’s palsy does make it difficult to initially understand him – but after a few minutes, just like a strong accent, you’ve adjusted to his speech patterns and can freely absorb his comedy.

And he’s definitely got a good eye for comedy. Sure, it’s easy for him to poke fun at the disabled – and, in fact, the best parts of his act leverage that. The first big laugh comes when he plays video of his bungee jumping escapades: “go on, admit it – you just loved seeing a spastic get pushed off a bridge.” Highlighting the preconceptions of people by begging for mortgage payments and puppy killing was also good value.

Clark’s PowerPoint skills are great, his video support quality. He’s obviously aware of his limitations and works well within them (though I have to admit that his air-quotes cracked me up… that’s probably not very PC). Clearly his act is heavily affected by other “cripples” – he seems to hate Heather Mills-McCartney with a passion – and he rounds out his act by showing a bunch of personal ads from Disability Now magazine. But he does well to dispel a few myths, and is genuinely funny – though the laughs-per-minute are down from other motor-mouthed comedians, he still delivers a quality experience. Bravo, sir.

[2008070] The Bird Lantern Lab

The Bird Lantern Lab (FringeTIX)

Bird Lantern @ The Jade Monkey

5:30pm, Sat 8 Mar 2008

Bird Lantern – local lads Al Thumm and Greig Thomson – perform live electronic soundscapes and explorations. Using a variety of samplers, computers, guitars & percussion bits, they produced a one-hour journey that covered a metric truckload of musical ground. The beat is a bit too much to the fore for it to be considered “ambient” – but experimental is a pretty good description. “Bloody polished” is also appropriate; a lot of the stuff they were producing live onstage would sound perfect coming from your CD player.

Emerging out of a whale-song of an opening comes a rhythmically complex piece that is, at once, both beautiful and unsettling. And out of that, via some drones and a lot of knob-twiddling before the beat kicks in, comes what sounds like some classical samples. Everything is treated – when the singer sings, his voice is accompanied by the tweets of a hundred chirpy birds, guitars sound like they’re underwater and being played in a large mammal’s gut… nothing sounds as it should (except the bass drum and cymbals which only get occasional attention).

But that’s fine. It’s all about the co-existence of noise, that which we deem music. And these chaps have an ear for a beat and the ability to layer rhythms a-plenty over the top; simple tracks these are not. From the gentlest pieces to the caustic and over-driven segments, it’s all good. Transitions between songs are often glorious – it’d be a masterful act of DJ-ing, if it were indeed DJ-ed. But it’s not, it’s being produced live – and it’s fucking great.

I’d like to say that the “live visuals synchronized with the music” were decent but, alas, they were not. In fact, they looked like they were being generated by WinAmp on a 10-year-old PC – jerky and unappealing. And they might have been synchronised with some music, but it wasn’t the stuff I was hearing. Boo.

(This is the first blog entry I’ve ever written during the actual performance. It’s bloody brilliant writing like that! :)

[2008069] Murder in the Cathedral

Murder in the Cathedral (FringeTIX)

The Therry Dramatic Society @ St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral

2:00pm, Sat 8 Mar 2008

Inside the stone environs of St Xavier’s cathedral, it’s still pretty warm… yes, the stone has kept the temperature down (compared to outside), but there’s little-to-no air movement. The sell-out crowd (they allocated tickets to cover the central section of the cathedral) have spread out to the wings; that’s where I’m positioned, too. It’s certainly less sweat-inducing, but as a consequence I (and many others) spend a great deal of the performance sliding along the pews trying to get a glimpse of the action between the cathedral’s supporting columns.

It’s a very straightforward presentation – it seems like, after the masterstroke of hosting the performance in the cathedral, all directoral ambition went out the window. It’s all front-of-stage, eyes-forward… uninspired. There’s a few non-traditional entrances, using the many facilities of the cathedral, but other than that it’s a very traditional presentation. Costumes are competent, and it’s a very faithful adaptation of TS Eliot’s play.

And that’s a problem. After initially making mental notes that Act I felt too long, then noting that Act II also felt too long, I dug out my beloved Complete Poems and Plays to check the original play… only to discover (and I say this as a massive TS Eliot poetry fan) that Thomas Stearns just plain fucked up with this play. Especially the ending; just when you think the performance is over, out trots the cast in their groups to deliver their soliloquies… the audience delivers a premature applause once, then linger so long at the true end-of-show applause that the cast don’t bother showing their faces (or maybe it’s because it was stinking hot in the church).

To be fair, few other playwrights possess the beautiful perfunctory end-of-scene flourishes of Shakespeare… but surely Eliot could have done better! After all, there’s a lovely rhythm to the spiels of The Tempters – the Fourth Tempter, in particular, was fantastic with his goads to martyrdom.

In terms of cast, “solid” is an appropriate description; the only one to have me checking the programme was Joanna Patrick in the chorus… I get the feeling that she’s destined for greater things. Other than that, though, this felt pretty pedestrian, and served only to bring my attention to the fact that TS Eliot is not in the same league as a playwright as he is a poet.

[2008067] DeAnne Smith: Shouting Over Drunks

DeAnne Smith: Shouting Over Drunks (FringeTIX)

DeAnne Smith @ The Tuxedo Cat

11:00pm, Thu 6 Mar 2008

Shouting Over Drunks made my shortlist, but was languishing on the Maybe pile until DeAnne Smith flyered me whilst walking through the Uni one day. She seemed charming, personable – that’s all it takes to swing me… I’m such a whore.

So – after climbing the seventy-eight flights of stairs that were on the path to The Tuxedo Cat, I emerge onto the Rooftop Bar. It’s a bar. On a rooftop. And it’s ace. I’ve no idea whether it’s open during non-Fringe times, but… it’s lovely. Great vibe, cheap drinks (well, compared to The Garden, anyway). The Tuxedo Cat, on the other hand, is a small room with a small stage and thirty chairs. But hey, it’s a venue.

DeAnne Smith is great. She’s got an audience that’s only just barely into double figures, but her poise and confidence onstage is second-to-none. Her raison d’être appears to be the ability to tell a compelling – though essentially humorless – story, and then turn the tale on its head with a cheap joke or pun… groanworthy, yes, but when you slip into Smith’s groove (oo-er) it has a satisfying rhythm to it. The long diatribe on vaginal reconstructive surgery, for instance, led to the lowliest of cheap gags – but that journey to the joke, in itself, is still a perversely enjoyable experience.

Other notable threads from Smith included her uncanny ability to drive girlfriends to mime, and her apparent influence over her parent’s alcoholism as a child. All bloody funny stuff, and that – coupled with Smith’s confidence and style and stunningly hot girlfriend – had me leaving The Tuxedo Cat with a smile on my face and a resolve to see DeAnne Smith again.

[2008066] Ali McGregor’s Midnight Lullabies

Ali McGregor’s Midnight Lullabies (FringeTIX)

Ali McGregor & Ben Hendry @ Bosco Theatre

9:30pm, Thu 6 Mar 2008

After the Persian Garden Poets ran long, it was a panicked mobilisation from the Festival Centre to the Garden. Of course, I completely forgot that this was Midnight Lullabies‘ opening night, and so the Bosco staff were labouring under their first changeover – and, as a result, the show started well late.

And, to be honest, there’s nothing much to report. As with last year’s show, Ali and Ben provide a show of (mostly) covers with odd tempos and instrumentation. There’s a few new songs – Sweet Child O’ Mine is a blinder, slowed down and sweetly sung by Ali. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head is somewhat less successful, but still good curiosity value, and You Shook Me All Night Long had the crowd on the edge of their seats, awaiting the next delicious line or vocal flourish – how does she hit those high notes?

Apart from that, though, the only difference to last year’s show was a layer of polish (which makes everything that much nicer), and Ali’s cleavage. Yummy. But cleavage or not, it’s still an amazing show – beautiful songs sung by a beautiful girl with beautiful percussion… and a new CD’s available after the show, too. What’s not to love?

[2008064] 1984

1984 (FringeTIX)

Urban Myth Theatre of Youth @ Holden Street Theatres (The Studio)

11:30am, Thu 6 Mar 2008

Occasionally, I’ll see a piece of art – a painting, a movie, some theatre – that is so utterly, utterly wonderful that my immediate response is to hate and revile the creator – because I become so completely overwhelmed by intense feelings of envy towards them for being able to (for all I know) effortlessly create such goodness.

That’s how I feel about the director of this production of 1984, Edwin Kemp-Attrill.

This young chap has taken Orwell‘s most famous work and placed in onstage with such a holistic clarity of vision that it’s almost breathtaking. Honestly, if a theatrical neophyte like me can look at this work and think “damn, that direction is good“, it must be pretty stand-out.

And it is… lighting, staging, and the overall feel of the piece is superb; and, while it might have been nice to see a bit more of the Proles, Gemma Sneddon’s adaptation of the novel is satisfyingly bleak. The costumes are beautifully refined, the set sublime in its simplicity, the projections poignant without being overpowering.

It’s not a perfect production, by any means – as with most youth productions, some of the performances are a little wooden. This is more than offset, however, by the actresses(!) playing O’Brien – another directoral success – and Big Brother herself, perfect harsh eyebrows and chillingly cheerful demeanor. Coddling his journal like a timid emo bookworm, Winston Smith is also perfectly cast.

But, as you might have guessed from my opening paragraphs, 1984‘s triumph is in its presentation. There’s simply not a single directoral mis-step. Yes, I envy Kemp-Attrill immensely for having the gall to have such an exceptional eye at the age of 20; but I swear I’ll pencil in every show his name is associated with in the future.

Interestingly, as I was leaving the theatre, Kemp-Attrill was addressing the school groups for a bit of Q&A. “How many of you have read 1984?” he asked. The only sound to be heard was my escaping footsteps. “How many of you watch Big Brother?” A loud rustle as a bunch of arms are raised. Then I hear a quiet voice as I hit the hot midday air: “I knew Big Brother was bad, but not *that* bad”.

[2008063] Music Is My Sex

Music Is My Sex (FringeTIX)

Nina Nicols @ Electric Light Hotel (Producers Bar)

10:15pm, Wed 5 Mar 2008

Disclaimer: I was tired (but had consumed about 6 shots of coffee in the three hours prior to the show). I could possibly be deemed to be emotionally fragile (but had just enjoyed two comedy acts). I was snuffling away in cold-fighting form.

But, honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve been so unmoved in a performance.

The fractured timeline in the telling of this tale was the most interesting thing about this show… and by “interesting”, I mean “confused”. And “detrimental”.

We’re presented the tale of a Daddy’s-Girl Rich-Bitch who gets a record contract with her band before she’s 18, traipses around the world before falling victim to the sex’n’drugs’n’rock’n’roll of the music industry, goes into rehab and winds up a successful lawyer after a stint at Oxford… all before her 30th birthday.

So – why am I supposed to empathise with her? Sounds like the luckiest girl in the world to me. At the end of the performance, I imagined that I was applauding her efforts in life, rather than the acting out thereof.

And, as any reader of this blog would know, my writing leaves a lot to be desired. But still, when I’m faced with song lyrics such as these…

Music is my sex
It’s the best
When it cums inside of me
Sets my soul free

…there’s something in my brain which just says “you know what, Pete? I’m only here under sufferance.”

And they were some of the better lyrics.

I really, truly try to support anyone who steps on a stage in front of me. Try to feedback some energy, let them know – no matter how poor their performance is – that it’s appreciated, because they’re the ones with the guts to get on that stage, not me. But I struggled to do that here; I feel my forced smile may have appeared as a grimace. Still, there’s positives to be had: Nina Nicols has a decent voice, and certainly looks the part of the rock goddess. But as for the rest of the show… nup. Just… NO.

(Jesus – the ‘Tiser gave this a three-star review. Boy, is my thumb not on the pulse of Adelaide Fringe Quality.)

[2008062] Mark Watson – Can I Briefly Talk To You About The Point Of Life?

Mark Watson – Can I Briefly Talk To You About The Point Of Life? (FringeTIX)

Mark Watson @ Nova Cinema 2

8:30pm, Wed 5 Mar 2008

Mark Watson really tickled my comedy bone (oo-er) when I saw him last year, and the internet coughed up a wonderful six-part BBC Radio programme he performed (with Tim Minchin, no less) which was also quite brilliant. So a ticket to this show was more than highly desirable.

Watson started the show from within the small crowd, sitting about four rows back. After explaining himself and giving us quite specific instructions – which took a good ten minutes – he finally took to the stage to rapturous applause. Much of what was presented was familiar, but his imprecise and bumbling style makes the material feel fresh – and, let’s face it, he is bloody funny.

And that’s about all I have to say about that. Mark Watson is a very amusing chap, with a wonderfully affable style. Laid-back, yet engaging. Totally worth your time and money. Just be aware that he may not actually talk much about the Point Of Life.

[2008061] ElbowSkin’s Too Hard Basket

ElbowSkin’s Too Hard Basket (FringeTIX)

ElbowSkin @ Rhino Room (Upstairs)

7:15pm, Wed 5 Mar 2008

I’ve previously seen ElbowSkin in 2004 and 2006. I liked what I saw. I purchased a ticket for their 2008 show. Riveting, eh? But Dave and Ern are back, presenting a show based on the flimsy premise that they’re rehearsing for the show. A bit cyclical, yes, and certainly The Umbilical Brothers have attempted that premise before; but ElbowSkin manage to keep the laughs rattling along and, if anything, the idea facilitates some ideas that may not be possible in a more conventional show.

A bit of video footage places us at ElbowSkin’s Secret Hideaway where they’re busy – or not – writing the show. In desperation, they pull open the “Too Hard Basket” to get to the ideas previously deemed too hard… and we’re then privvy to a ton of song snippets – often only one or two lines – that are astoundingly funny. A couple of longer songs – as seen at the Comedy for a Cause benefit gig – were also presented, along with a bunch of short skits.

Of course, the trademark ElbowSkin pre-recorded video snippets are there – the “chicken crossing the road” bits, in particular, are brilliant. Who’d have thunk that the chicken was prodded by a stick? or belted by a 3-wood? And their usual harmonies and guitar work are fantastic throughout.

But the real gem of the night was the closer. Whether it’s true or not, Ernie announced that his girlfriend’s parents were attending a show for the first time. After waxing lyrical about the loveliness of their daughter, he dedicated the last song to them… “I Fucked Your Daughter”. There’s something absolutely delightful about the idea that the words “It’s fair to say she really loves the cock” are being delivered to her parents. Great stuff :)

[2008059] Meat – The Musical

Meat – The Musical (FringeTIX)

Hannah Gadsby & Amelia Jane Hunter @ Fringe Factory (The Fridge)

10:30pm, Tue 4 Mar 2008

Kaye (Gadsby) and Berverly (Hunter) are “identical” twins bequeathed a butchery by their father; their quest for his posthumous validation lies in creating a prize-winning sausage in the local butcher’s competition. Due to the less-than-sanitary conditions of the sisters’ butchery, the health authorities are keen on maintaining a rigorous inspection schedule… but what to do when an over-zealous inspector threatens to shut them down? And what should they do with the body?

…you can see where this is going, can’t you?

After having missed – through poor planning – Hannah Gadsby’s solo standup show earlier in the Fringe, I was ultra-keen to check this one out. Of course, opening night was probably a bad idea – besides the obvious teething problems (with Gadsby hissing instructions to the techie from offstage), I also had to contend with the press contingent – bless their evil, shit-stained hearts. There was a meat raffle on offer, too – dunno whether that’s a regular occurrence or not, but it certainly looked tempting.

Gadsby is deliciously dry in her delivery, Hunter painfully naïve – both perfect for their respective roles. There’s a really odd couple of interviews with the police that have them unconvincingly changing roles, but it’s all played for laughs and doesn’t come across too badly.

The most glaring problem with Meat – the Musical is, of course, the fact that it’s not a musical. This seems to indicate that the show is underdone; but what’s there is a reasonable giggle, just not a meaty guffaw-fest.

[2008056] Every Film Ever Made

Every Film Ever Made (FringeTIX)

The Hound of the Baskervilles @ The Pod

11:00pm, Mon 3 Mar 2008

It seems a good candidate for easy laughs: Rob, Tegan and Adam joining together to whip through every film – well, every genre (nearly) – ever made. As you may expect, this performance is high on farce, and there’s the requisite personality clashes – the boys want to cover all the sci-fi and action movies, whereas Tegan is keen to delve into arthouse and Bridget Jones.

Whilst obviously the title of the show is a complete fib, they do manage to cover a ton of films – re-enacting snippets from the Godfather, Terminator, Star Wars, Aliens, Top Gun, A Few Good Men, and so on. It’s all played for laughs, with a minimum of props and a loud, unrestrained style that’s heavy on the wild gesticulation and yelling. A fair bit seems ad-libbed – with mixed results – but that may be “ad-libbed” with massive air-quotes around it… you can never really tell with these comedy troupes ;)

Yes, it’s loud, and brash, and most certainly funny, but you can’t help but think it’s shallow too. Still, I guess you could say that about most comedy shows, so why not just enjoy it while it’s there? But – as one of the few people in the audience that got the …Say Anything reference, I have to object to the “most obscure” tag they gave it; there were many other references that this Cusack fan missed ;)