[20020061] More Please Miss Kate

More Please Miss Kate

Miss Kate @ Worldsend Hotel

7:45pm, Sun 10 Mar 2002

Score: 6

Short Review: Ocker

Miss Kate, a native of Cairns (now banned from performing there), bowled onto the stage wearing a VB cap and a Liz Hurley-esque VB t-shirt, complete with safety pins. In between memorised poems of her own creation – “I’m a wordsmith” – she also interjected stories of her past, in the most ocker-country-bargirl accent imaginable.

Let’s face it – Miss Kate isn’t going to challenge Dawe, Dennis or Paterson for the title of “Australia’s Greatest Poet”. A lot of her compositions were very… unwieldy, but the “Sensitive Man” poem and the “Ode to Helga The Swedish Whip Girl” were bloody funny. And she has a fire, and a passion, and the greatest accent you could imagine from a female – and the show’s free. True dink. What more could you ask for?

[20020060] Les Arts Sauts

Les Arts Sauts

@ Torrens Parade Ground

5:00pm, Sun 10 Mar 2002

Score: 5

Short Review: Ripped

As I sat in my deckchair within the 21 metre white bubble hemi-sphere atop the Torrens Parade grounds (hereafter known as the “GooberDome”), I had to suppress the rage my fellow GooberDome-goers were creating within me. “Why aren’t the seats numbered?” “We watch SBS and ABC, so we know how to say ‘Les Arts Sauts’.”


The show begins on a very dull note – a lot of swinging about high up in the GooberDome by a trapezist or two. People swinging in from the sides of the Dome in some semi-choreographed routine. No real thrills here.

About 25 minutes into the show, chains descend from the roof to lift the steel rig – upon which the band (cello, bass, viola, singers) perched – to the top of the Dome. “Cool”, thinks I, “they’re going to do acrobatic stuff off a swaying metal rig”. But no – the rig was firmly fastened to the support structure of the GooberDome. No swaying at all.

When (what I consider to be) the act proper started, and people started ooh-ing and aah-ing, I couldn’t shake this little demon from my head – “Why wasn’t the rig up there before we entered the GooberDome? Why did we have to sit around for 25 minutes while they (essentially) set up? Why did I have to pay for that?”.

Well, for 20 minutes there was all manner of mid-air hijinks, and it was all pretty… disconnected. By which I mean that I was unable to emote at all with these tumbling acrobats. There was a little variety, and to be honest there were actually a couple of genuinely exciting stunts – but when I noticed that the music was (rather blatantly) being used to generate an increased level of excitement for the same tricks seen earlier, I started feeling ripped off. To be honest, the most spectacular part was the performers “dismounts” at the end of the show. Mmmmmm… freefall.

Initially, you’d think that kicking back in a deckie, looking up towards the action is a pretty good idea. Well yeah, it is – unless you don’t like looking directly into spotlights, whereupon you’re gonna have sore eyes, mon amis. And since I was parting with 67 sheckles for a 68 minute show, I expect to actually have a 68 minute show – not the 58 minutes we got (which, I must remind you, included 25 minutes of piss-farting around before the good bits started).

And, at the end of the day, I felt utterly relieved to leave the GooberDome. Les Arts Sauts took my gladly proffered money and provided me with an emotionally bereft, mesmerisingly duplicitous experience. Millions may love this show, but not I. Go catch every show in the Lunar Tent rather than this hyped gloss.

[20020058] Mirrorball – Unseen & Unclean: Banned Videos

Mirrorball – Unseen & Unclean: Banned Videos

@ Uni Cinema

11:30pm, Sat 9 Mar 2002

Score: 8

Short Review: Bloody funny

The only Mirrorball show I could attend, this was probably the one I most wanted to see – a collection of music videos that suffered the wrath of the censors. A UK MTV production, this film included entire clips of the good ‘uns, snippets from the more well-known stuff (Madonna, Prodigy), and some staggeringly funny interviews with video producers and directors.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of 80’s New Wave videos – the film opened with Duran Duran’s banned “Girls on Film” video (complete with mostly naked women mud-wrestling and pillow fighting), and Soft Cell also showed up with “Sex Dwarf”. Other clips included tracks from Queens of the Stone Age, Massive Attack, Robbie Williams (“Rock DJ”) and Metallica.

In amongst all the videos banned for female nudity, there were a few nixed for other reasons – and these were some of the best clips of the night. The Cardigans’ “My Favorite Game” was a cracker, Death In Vegas’ “Aisha” was also very stylish, but the highlight for the night was undoubtedly Flowered Up’s “Weekender” – a rip-roaring monster of a clip.

There were the gross-out moments, too – Cradle Of Filth’s “From the Cradle to Enslave” topped them, with graphic shots of people bowing their own arms with hacksaws. The funniest bits, however, were the interviews with directors – most of them looked like they were totally tripping, and one justified his creation of a (essentially) porn video by saying “pornography is just really, really interesting to us”. Duh :)

A puzzling one was the inclusion of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” – especially since the screened video was the most edited version of that clip I’ve seen. Other than that, however, this was a bloody amusing way to spend a Saturday night.

[20020054] Late Show at The Arts

Late Show at The Arts

@ The Arts Theatre

11:30pm, Fri 8 Mar 2002

Score: 5

Short Review: Improv

I rolled up at The Arts Theatre and was stoked at the line-up for the night – the Cream of Irish crew (Tara Flynn, Ian Coppinger, Brendan Dempsey), as well as Dave Johns and Phil Nichol. Then I read the words that filled me with trepidation – “Improv Night”.

As we all know, this could be very very good, or very very bad. At the end of the night, it probably leaned towards the latter – helped by the (mostly young) audience suggestions, which ranges from “porn” to “porno” (as appropriate).

Well, the line-up seemed very quick on their feet, providing the odd laugh or ten, but it was no substitute for a “real” show. Phil Nichol impressed with his uniformly juvenile behaviour, and Tara Flynn – well, she’s a gorgeous Irish babe, and well worth seeing again :)

As always with improv, your mileage may vary.

[20020049] No Man’s Island

No Man’s Island

Brussell @ Kiosk Lawn, Botanic Gardens

2:00pm, Thu 7 Mar 2002

Score: 6

Short Review: Competent

On a gorgeous autumn day (puffy clouds on a bright blue sky, light breeze tossing newly-fallen leaves), my arse was parked on a tarp in the middle of the botanic gardens to see this performance, put on by a group out of the University of Ballarat.

Penned by Ross Mueller, “No Man’s Island” takes place within the confines of an anonymous prison cell – the surrounds of the Botanic Gardens made me feel like it was a Cambodian prison camp. After an introductory frantic bout of madness, we find two men, Rob and Tim, at various stages of emotional disrepair. Throughout the play, there is the constant feeling that the characters switch between their “strong” and “weak” personae; one character may be acting as an emotional crutch for the other character in one moment, but the next moment sees them effectively switching roles.

Andy Delves is brilliant as Tim, both the strongest and most vulnerable of the two characters. The repetitive music used sparingly creates a unique, brooding atmosphere, but I’ve got a feeling this would be much better seen at night (rather than 2pm on a sunny day).

In short, this was a competent – though somewhat abstract – psychological piece; worth a look if you’ve got a spare gap in the schedule.

[20020048] Lehmo and Dave’s Guide To Health and Happiness

Lehmo and Dave’s Guide To Health and Happiness

Lehmo and Dave Williams @ Rhino Room

10:00pm, Wed 6 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: Educational :)

Local boys Lehmo and Dave Williams strut on stage, assure us that we’re not at an Amway session, then proceed to tell us that we’re about to embark on a four-stage plan to better ourselves – to become healthy, happy and have “a huge cock – or huge inner cock, for the women”.

Their tips range from the ridiculous (crime as a step to financial happiness) to… the ridiculous (stalking as a way to “make friends”). But always funny, or at least very silly.

Sure, it’s not the most polished act in the world – a few crack-ups here and there, Dave constantly checking the show notes on the wall – but it’s got a couple of great frontmen, and enough giggles to get one through the night. And the extra added bonus sketch, “The Surreal Estate Agent”, is a cracker.

[20020047] Samsara


@ Golden Grove Recreation and Arts Centre

7:30pm, Wed 6 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: No more Vangelis!

Some people love Vangelis. Not I. Which means I’m facing a bit of an uphill battle here, since the whole of “Samsara” has a Vangelis soundtrack.

Not to worry – the performance was great. The wonderfully staccato opening, “Pedestrians” sets the scene for some neato bits of dance, which peaks in the fourth piece, “Killing Fields”, which approached the wonderfully organic beauty of 2000’s Drumming. The final piece, “Sunrise” would have to be the bravest piece of dance I’ve ever seen – there’s a naked 8 month old held high above the entire cast… I mean, anything could happen!

In general, it’s a very individualistic bit of contemporary dance that would’ve got an extra notch or two on the moobaa-ometer, if only it wasn’t for Vangelis… but if you can tolerate the V, go forth and catch this show.

[20020046] 52 Pick Up

52 Pick Up

theater simple @ The Little Theatre

2:00pm, Wed 6 Mar 2002

Score: 10

Short Review: Funny & Familiar

Yep, it’s another theater simple show, and I’m going to go raving once again about how wonderful I think they are, how great the show is, and how you should all go and check this out.

Simple premise: 52 scenes, covering a relationship from beginning to …(?). Each scene is represented by a playing card in a deck. At the beginning of the piece, the cards are shuffled, then tossed into the air; cards are then selected at random and acted out until the deck has been collected, thus playing the relationship out in a random order.

Sounds simple – and it works brilliantly well. The scenes themselves vary in length, from the two-liners to monologues to more detailed conversations. And, due to the random nature of the scene selection, very odd mood swings are possible – and the audience often holds its collective breath as the next card is selected.

The performances? hey, it’s Andrew & Llysa, they could make any script look good. However, the strength of the 52 “scriptlets” is also exceptional – Rita Bozi and TJ Dawe (yes, he of Labrador and Tired Cliches fame) have compiled snippets that are instantly familiar.

And so, with more cheer in my heart, I command all those who are in, or have ever been in, a relationship to go see this show. Seriously. You won’t regret it. And for those sad souls whose sole relationship has been with an invisible friend called Trevor, get along and see this show anyway. You’ll experience all the bliss, angst, fun and uncertainty that comes from the real thing.

[20020044] Dom Irrera

Dom Irrera

@ Laughing Gas

10:00pm, Tue 5 Mar 2002

Score: 9

Short Review: Bustagut

Dom Irrera came on stage in front of a full house and started with a “pee and poop” joke.

“Oh no,” thought I, “60 minutes of pee and poop a comedian maketh not.” But within the next 20 seconds he had excused himself for his foul language, then rapid-fired through 30 euphemisms for the sexual act. And he was rolling.

And this guy hammered the jokes home. No theme to the show, just solid, wall-to-wall funny stuff. No pausing for the audience to laugh, soaking up the adulation stuff here. Lots of semi-crude stuff (topical(?) child sex, fun with homophobes), ridiculous stuff (punching the cat), and just straight gags (airport security stuff a-plenty).

Really, there’s bugger all to say, except: see this man. He’s basically playing every night ’til the end of the Fringe, so you’ve got no excuse not to.

[20020042] A Cool Taste of Brazil

A Cool Taste of Brazil

Samba Suave @ Garage Bar

7:30pm, Mon 4 Mar 2002

Score: 5

Short Review: Street’s Vanilla

Hmmmmm. After the Tango of El Tango, we lept into the more laid-back Samba of “A Cool Taste of Brazil”.

I confess to knowing nowt about Samba Suave, and this six-member troupe gave me no sparks to encourage me to investigate further. The male vox were overloud, the female vox too quiet (but, when they were evident in the mix, were hoarse and smoky). The electric guitar was also lost in the mix and, when it did come to the fore for solos, it was treated such that it sounded like a trumpet (or flute, or steel drum – it doesn’t matter, they all sounded pretty ordinary). In fact, I could’ve done without all the solos, really.

To be fair, maybe it was the laidback gentle grooves of Samba that didn’t light my fire, rather than this performance. Why “Street’s Vanilla”? Well, it’s just that the performance was pleasant, without being offensive or memorable. Plain vanilla, as opposed to the really nice Sara Lee deluxe stuff.

[20020040] A Suspended Love Story

A Suspended Love Story

Strut & Fret Production House @ The Lunar Tent

5:00pm, Mon 4 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: More aerials…

Yup, another show in The Lunar Tent, more aerial work. This time it’s a small troupe – only two aerialists – in this short show (30 minutes or so). The 5:00pm slot makes this one attractive for the kids as well, and is well worth a peek.

Sure, it’s pretty much the same kind of stuff as other Lunar Tent shows (Acrobat, Cabaret), but this show has a thoroughly wonderful mid-air tango sequence, as well as a more overt circus motif. And hey, it brought a smile to this jaded ff-goer’s face.

In short – yeah, it’s more aerials, but if the timeslot, attention span or kids preclude Acrobat, get along to this one instead – especially given the $7 price tag.

[20020036] Soobee and Jeffree

Soobee and Jeffree

Broadway And Company

1:00pm, Sun 3 Mar 2002

Score: 5

Short Review: Great for little ‘uns

Sue Broadway and Jeff Turpin adopt the personae of clowns Soobee and Jeffree for this short and charming show which, while somewhat entertaining for nutcases like me, is probably better suited to a younger audience.

After struggling with their opening under the warm Lunar Tent, Soobee and Jeffree squeeze some gentle humour out of simple, but visually effective, tricks – their spinning plates representing the solar system was quite amusing – but they excel when it comes to juggling.

Their hat juggling routine was quite mesmerising, but when they started juggling up to seven clubs between them, you knew they weren’t mucking around. Their ability to “steal” items from each other while juggling was also pretty neat.

Yup, with a young crowd, Soobee and Jeffree would go off – they had the kids at this show howling like wolves at the moon (not the best thing for tinitus) and giggling like… children. Then again, there’s always one kid in the crowd that makes you crack up – this performance, it was the 3 year old that yelled out “FUCK” quite audibly when Jeffree dropped something. Most amusing.

You could certainly do a lot worse than dragging the little ‘uns along to this.

[20020034] electronic bonk (eBonk)

electronic bonk (eBonk)

Tori Hodgman @ Worldsend Hotel

9:30pm, Sat 2 Mar 2002

Score: 6

Short Review: Glass Vase

Tori Hogman, local girl and ex-criminal lawyer, shows us the seedy side of dating using modern methods – phone chat lines and ‘Net based message boards. Not to mention a few stories from her past, and a few laughs along the way.

Tori first introduces us to wankline, a phone system for singles to leave messages for one another to contact (if necessary). Tori, ever the thorough researcher, maintained a glass vase of messages left for her by men on wankline – if anyone in the audience yelled out “Glass Vase”, she would read some of the sad, sad, SAD (and crude) messages, then get back to the show. A neat trick to get out of comedy death.

Besides wankline, we were also treated to Tori’s use of internet Message Boards – with similar crude responses. Actually, Tori seemed to be the antagonist on the ‘Net, but hey, it was pretty funny. There were some funny (and serious) family moments presented, too.

Overall, though, this show was perhaps a touch too patchy to warrant a “must see” tag – but was enjoyable nonetheless. And I think it’s testament to the thoroughness of her research that Tori was the first person in the room to switch her mobile on at show’s end.

[20020033] American Dreamchasing with Spirit-Drive! NOT Ego-Jive…

American Dreamchasing with Spirit-Drive! NOT Ego-Jive…

Mark “ZonaCat” Hansen @ Iris Cinema

8:00pm, Sat 2 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: Motor-mouthed

I’ve no idea why this one got picked out of the Guide. In fact, when I was reading the Guide just prior to going to the show, I caught mention of the performer’s web site. Go there, it’s pretty… odd. So all of a sudden I was worried: “shit, I’ve just paid $14 for an American self-help seminar… he’ll prolly try to sell me stuff at the end of the show too…”.

These fears were not allayed when we arrived at the Iris cinema, and the barguy said “Mark wants you to read this pamphlet before he starts. Oh, and he wants you to have a beer. On the house.”

Oh dear. I was worried now. Curiously, the pamphlet didn’t contain any pyramid schemes… and then in bounds Mark Hansen. And he launches into his monologue.

80 minutes later, he’s still speaking 200 words a minute. No selling, just a bunch of positivity and wacky stories about himself. Pretty entertaining stuff really, if you can handle an over-stimulated American monologue (who uses the word “lugubrious” in conversation – Dali link).

Seriously. Read some of the stuff on his website (www.zonacat.com) – it’s great. As for paying money to see him? Well, it’s an experience, I’ll say that much. And he shouts you a beer – Southwark White, not too shabby.

[20020031] Killer Joe

Killer Joe

Brink Productions @ Odeon Theatre

4:00pm, Sat 2 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: Trashy

After the epic co-production (with The Wrestling School) of The Ecstatic Bible in the 2000 Festival, Brink Productions return to their Fringe roots with their second season of “Killer Joe”.

Working within the confines of an exploded trailer park home, the plot is a sick little number involving the Smiths, a white trash family, contract killing, a lot of angst, and a few plot twists along the way. Lizzy Falkland (exceptional in The Ecstatic Bible) was the perfect picture of poor southern America, and Michaela Cantwell was wonderful as Dottie, Killer Joe’s “retainer”. Unfortunately, Killer Joe himself (a detective and part-time assassin) was less convincingly played by Rory Walker.

The sound and lighting of the performance was exceptional – they set the mood perfectly. The direction, especially the blocking of the fight scenes, was really confused – these scenes devolved into a mess of yelling and obvious stage fighting (which would make pro wrestlers blush!).

Apart from the afore-mentioned directorial issues, this was pretty competent entertainment. I did love the program, however – all the usual production info, plus a wonderful collection of poor white trash factoids and historical information. So, if you’re down the Parade, you could do a lot worse than catching this show.