[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.

[2008071] The Age I’m In

The Age I’m In (Festival page)

Force Majeure @ Dunstan Playhouse

8:00pm, Sat 8 Mar 2008

This was great. Simple as that.

Now, I could post this blog entry off and be done with it, moving on to the next show in the queue, but I’d feel guilty about it later on and – worse – have committed to the aether a bunch of words that in no way allow me to reconstruct the performance in my head. So I shall, in my own inimitable way, elaborate.

The Age I’m In seems to address the issues of identity with respect to age. Using ten performers aged from early-teens to well-grayed, and using audio snippets from interviews of people aged 9 to 83, we’re treated to a cross-discipline display that sees the performers miming to dialog one minute, dancing the next, and manipulating video screens the next.

There’s contemporary dance for the young ‘uns. There’s ballroom dance for the oldies. There’s intimate and tender physical interactions for everyone. There’s moments of humour when the youngest girl mimes the vocal delivery of the oldest man… and vice versa. The hand-held video screens are fantastic – pre-recorded video plays whilst the performers move the screens by hand over other performers, creating a perverse x-ray-like effect. Naked bodies beneath clothes, emotions exposed.

Performances are ace – from the confidence of the youngest girl, to the refined restricted movements of the oldest man, everything feels personal and honest and… correct. Their miming to pre-recorded voices is almost flawless, and – humour aside – utterly believable. And the direction is stunning… there’s one scene where three women track up and down each other’s bodies with the video screens, exposing their naked beauty, whilst the audio imparts a feeling of fragility. Over the other side of the stage sits the youngest girl, watching the other women with a mixture of interest and trepidation.

And the ending – magnificent. The eldest of the cast, spotlight front-and-centre. A light, misting rain creates a sheet at the front of the stage… the rest of the cast join him, and you get the feeling it’s a cleansing ritual. Utterly moving, it perfectly capped off a wonderful show; whilst it’s not the deepest piece of dance or theatre, it is a glorious marriage of both – with a nice bit of technology wedged in. Compelling stuff, indeed.

[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.

[2008068] Moving Target

Moving Target (Festival page)

Malthouse Theatre @ Odeon Theatre

7:30pm, Fri 7 Mar 2008

I guess that I’m stepping outside my comfort zone a bit lately, because I find myself wanting to write the words “I didn’t have the faintest idea what this was about… liked it, though.” A lot.

Now, I don’t mind being completely bewildered by a performance – as demonstrated by Conclusions: On Ice. It gives me something to think about, something to mull on during the walk home. Shows like that sit at the back of my subconscious for days, occasionally popping forth in an “aha!” moment… and sometimes not showing up at all, just remaining in a ruminative state, something for the neurons to fire on while I’m doing something else.

But Moving Target is a different kettle of fish.

Walking into the theatre, the stage is essentially a large, white room; six characters wait, apprehensive and edgy, for us to be seated. When the house lights drop, five gang up on one – it’s a clinical verbal battering, sinister glares, uncomfortable for all… but the audience doesn’t know why. Suddenly, a game of hide-and-seek breaks out – again, five-against-one – and the five are left to hide amongst the frugal props.

And here, Moving Target breaks with expectations – the hide-and-seek segments (and there are many of them) are impossibly funny, with characters hiding under carpets, under cushions, under tables, behind sofas, even in plain sight with a sleeping bag on their heads. These sequences are physical humour at its finest; the time where one character got tangled up in a chair, only to be helped out of his predicament by another character (who subsequently became entangled) had the audience in stitches.

In between these segments, though, there’s a much more sinister plot at play. It’s gradually revealed to us: in times of heightened terror responses, there’s a green parcel in a bin. It was placed there by a girl. Is the parcel a bomb? Is the girl a terrorist? Do any of these characters have anything to do with the story, or are they just narrators?

Essentially, we’re none the wiser until the last ten or fifteen minutes of the performance; until then, we’re happily bumbling around gleaning snippets of knowledge where we could. But in a visually intense sequence – flashing lights galore, including some jarring bright red / green transitions – the terror threat is directly addressed… and all trace of humour disappears. We’re clearly in Serious Mode now; and, rather than dodging around the issue, we’re taken on a linear explanation of the resolution. And then backtrack to see the other side of the story. This results in a few gasps of realisation from the audience as the performance slowly dissipates, fades to black, with a snapping of inexplicable masking tape.

Now, I don’t want it to sound like I disliked Moving Target, because that’d be far from the truth. I loved those first flabbergasting 75 minutes – I loved the repetitious, circuitous, twisty-turny double-back nature of them immensely. I loved the fact that I was essentially stumbling in the dark for most of the time, creating theories and counter-theories in my mind as to the meaning of every single artifact. But the conclusion – where the plot is laid bare, linearised, de-mystified – took all the rumination away from the performance. Which ended my engagement with Moving Target as soon as I started applauding the actors. Which, for some reason, makes me a little sad… I would’ve preferred to take a little of the performance home with me, in a little white-walled room in the back of my mind.

[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?

[2008065] Persian Garden Poets

Persian Garden Poets (Festival page)

Paul Durcan, John Kinsella, Dorothy Porter, Luke Wright @ Persian Garden

7:00pm, Thu 6 Mar 2008

After last years’ successful foray into poetry (with wordfire and Sean M. Whelan and The Mime Set), I was eager to do more of the same in 2008 – but couldn’t really afford the time to sit in Writer’s Week gigs. So this seemed like the perfect event to feed my written-word desires.

Mike Ladd from the ABC emcees the evening, and – apart from some cheerfully lame rhymes – has minimal input. First up was Irish poet Paul Durcan, who started his spot with a massive pause… something like three breaths, which was either a mood setter for his generally morose readings or a measure of respect/contempt for the audience. It’s kind of hard to tell. His downbeat poems were very elaborate and lyrical in nature, but rest assured I’m not dashing out to track down his anthologies.

John Kinsella was up next, and was almost a polar opposite from Durcan’s quiet, dull delivery. He’s an angry and passionate man, imparting huge amounts of energy and dynamism into his readings. He dwells mainly on rural West Australian themes – the silo story was fantastic – and really warrants further investigation.

When Dorothy Porter’s name was announced, there was a large number of “woots” and other associated cheering from the assembled throng. But though she was an expressive reader (of snippets from her works El Dorado and Akhenaten), her words utterly failed to spark my imagination or conjure much of anything. The “woots” from her introduction were notable by their absence as she walked off.

After a short break, the “star” of the night appears: Luke Wright from the UK performed his Luke Wright, Poet & Man routine. And, quite frankly, this was the funniest thing I’ve seen so far this year – it’s more of a standup routine that utilises poetry, rather than the other way around. But that’s not to marginalise the quality of his verse – for it is sublime, often coarse, but always passionate. Company of Men speaks of the need for blokiness, Camping Dad paints a detailed (and highly amusing) picture of a dying breed, and Sex Butler was lewd absurdism at its best. There’s more serious themes – death, his exposure to the class divide through his first girlfriend – but there’s always something pants-wettingly funny around the corner, always a turn of phrase that sticks in your mind: “face of bumming” is one that springs to mind nearly a week later.

In short, Persian Garden Poets was utterly worthwhile. The only bummer for the evening was that I couldn’t hang around to snaffle one of Wright’s CDs…

[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 :)

[2008060] When The Rain Stops Falling

When The Rain Stops Falling (Festival page)

Brink Productions @ Scott Theatre

1:30pm, Wed 5 Mar 2008

Wednesday matinees always bring out a special kind of crowd – namely, the senior citizens and school groups. The former arrive way too early, clogging up entry to the Scott Theatre; the latter roll up just-in-time, exploding into the venue with a self-importance that is palpable. Luckily, someone has set the thermostat in the theatre to about 21 degrees, cooling off the hotheads and lulling the oldies deeper into subdued quietness.

A man comes onstage, front and centre. As transparent screens descend from the heavens to add some semblance of depth to the set, the cast drift from wing to wing behind him. Rain starts dripping in; a fish plummets to the man’s feet from above, landing with a startling thud. He picks up the fish, and we’re away – telling a familial tale spanning four generations & eighty years, from Alice Springs to The Coorong to London to Adelaide.

The storyline happily skips through the multiple timelines, returning to certain periods when it suits the unfolding story. This isn’t as disconcerting as it may sound; the plot is pretty straightforward, and certainly linear in its telling. We essentially just track the characters as their interactions beget the following generations; boy meets girl, marriage, kids, etc. There’s a few twists to the story that are gradually revealed, and interest is maintained throughout.

“But Pete,” I hear no-one but the voices in my head say, “you’re being very vague. Even vaguer than usual. What are you not telling us? Did you like it or not?”

Did I like it? Well… it was certainly engaging, and wonderfully performed; not a dud actor onstage. But – at the risk of letting loose with a rather big spoiler – there was one aspect of the story that I had massive problems with: the paedophilia. Now, I understand that it’s utterly crucial to the plot, but it still felt like a cheap emotive device – the easiest way to generate the maelstrom of emotions. Base; lazy, even. It just didn’t work for me.

Direction was also a little flawed. Most of the time the set was beautifully realised: simple tables and chairs, those lovely translucent screens separating timelines and receiving frugal titling projections. But sometimes critical moments at the rear of the stage were obscured (I had to infer the pouring away of ashes), and there was an odd total dropping of stage lights prior to the end of the performance – which brought forth loud and uncomfortable applause as the next scene was started.

But did I like it? Let’s just say I didn’t hate it; but I won’t be recommending it in any future conversations. But I’ll admit a perverse pleasure was obtained in reading the reviews for When The Rain Stops Falling that were proudly pinned up outside the theatre – because they were universally awful. Not the opinions; the actual writing. I can only assume that there’s some editors out there who are ruling with an iron fist and are above the law – but they’re making their writers look shocking.

Says I.

[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.