Victoria Healy ‘s Anatomy

By Elyce Phillips

Do you like science? Do you like facts? Do you like facts about science? Well, Victoria Healy has got the show for you. In an attempt to overcome her squeamish discomfort with the human body and all its doings, Healy has learned all about our anatomy and shares her findings with you in ways comedic and informative.

Anatomy explores various parts of…well, the anatomy, through stories about Healy’s relationship with her own body, interspersed with a variety of entirely scientific facts. You’ll learn about hands, feet, even knees – if that’s the sort of thing you are into. There’s a lot of ground covered in this show. ‘Anatomy’ is jam-packed with all kinds of information about the body, but it’s presented in such an amusing, conversational way that it’s never overwhelming. The experience is like having a chat with a friend who has just started taking a new class that is so excited about all the new stuff that they’ve learned that they’re just busting to tell somebody all about it. You can’t help but immediately get on board with the subject matter.

Healy is a quick-witted and talented comedic performer, who is only getting better and better at her craft. Her new show not so much celebrates the human body as examines it with equal parts awe and disgust. Healy has a knack for instilling her own fascination for the subject of the human body into her material. An extensive analogy about gang life has certainly given me a whole new level of respect for the immune system. The show is most assuredly a crowd pleaser. On opening night, Healy performed to a packed house, all of whom seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

One word of warning for the incredibly squeamish among us – Healy does not dance about the fact that our bodies are at times downright disgusting, and while I took perverse glee in moments such as her truly vivid description of a lobotomy procedure, it may not be for everyone. But for those who are game, Victoria Healy’s Anatomy is thoroughly entertaining and you might even learn a thing or two.

Victoria Healy‘s Anatomy is on at the Locker Room at The Portland Hotel until October 8th

For Further info visit the Melbourne Fringe website  http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/victoria-healy-s-anatomy/.

Nicholas J Johnson – Today Tonight, Tomorrow the World

By Cathy Culliver

Nicholas J Johnson’s new show begins with the sentiment that “critics are jerks”. Well I never. In that case, Mr Johnson … No, I can’t do it. As much as I’d like to get him back, it just wouldn’t be fair. Some critics are jerks. And Today Tonight, Tomorrrow the World is too good a show to give it a bad review.

Based on his experiences appearing on everyone’s favourite “current affairs” show (and I use those quotation marks very ironically), Johnson takes the audience through the background and the reasoning that lead to him selling his soul to appear on Today Tonight.

Johnson is better known around the country as “Australia’s Honest Con Man”, and spends his time educating folks on how to avoid being tricked into parting with their hard-earned cash.

Which is, according to Johnson, why Today Tonight hired him; they wanted a con man to trick unsuspecting members of the public out of their money so they
could swoop in with their cameras and prove that everyone is a gullible idiot, presumably.

Johnson’s re-telling of his experience is not only entertaining and very funny, but also a fascinating look behind the scenes of how these television types operate.

I wouldn’t call it an expose, because really, who wasn’t already aware that Today Tonight was dodgy as all hell? But Johnson’s experiences certainly reiterate why the show is perceived as such a scourge on Australian television.

Aside from his con artistry skills, Johnson proves he’s also a damn good comedian. He’s warm and engaging, but at same time delightfully unpredictable. The moments in the show when he pulls the rug out from beneath you make for some of the funniest and most memorable.

You have to wonder whether this is a cathartic experience for Johnson; a way to finally be at peace with what those bad TV men made him do.

But since just after calling me a jerk he also made us all promise not to give away the ending, I won’t tell you how he eventually finds a way to sleep at night. But I will say it’s a cracker.

Today Tonight, Tomorrow the World is showing at Club Voltaite, North Melbourne until Saturday 6th October.

More information can be found in the Fringe Guide http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/today-tonight-tomorrow-the-world/

Lessons with Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom

By Elyce Phillips

The winners of Raw Comedy 2012 and the Golden Gibbo have returned for the Melbourne Fringe with a reprise of their wonderful production Kidney Kingdom. Luis, his younger brother Luelin and dad Len put on a play about Luis’ quest to get his sick dad a new kidney. It’s a chance for Luis to show off his many skills – singing, dancing, teaching and above all, comedy.

Kidney Kingdom has all the ambition of a grand stage spectacular, but springs to life in a dazzlingly underwhelming array of cardboard props and embroidered homewares – ably handled by impressively deadpan propsmaster Luelin. It feels like you’re watching some family friends put on a performance in the lounge room. There’s that fantastic contrast between earnestness of the production – performed with such vigour on Luis and Len’s part – and the uncomfortable reality of the quality of their play. The jokes fall flat, the dancing is out of time, the costume changes are an ordeal and it is hilarious.

However, Kidney Kingdom is more than just an exercise in anti-comedy. Luis, Len and Luelin’s characters are all incredibly well-realised. They work together seamlessly as a family, from the subtle flickers of exasperation on Luis’ face as Len rambles on, to Luelin’s constant lack of enthusiasm for his brother’s work. The dynamics of the family are constantly bubbling beneath the main performance of the stage play. What’s more, they all portray their characters with a great level of affection. The humour of Kidney Kingdom may be in the awkwardness of the delivery, but it is never cruel. It’s also a wonderfully inclusive show. Although the audience may have been reticent to sit in the front row, by the end of the show everyone was getting involved.
Kidney Kingdom is truly impressive – all the more so for being a debut full-length production. The Lessons with Luis team will no doubt go on to do great things. Catch this show if you haven’t already. It would be a great shame to miss it.

Lessons with Luis – Luis Presents: Kidney Kingdom is on at the Fringe Hub – The Ballroom, Lithuanian Club until October 5th.

All the Details are on the Melbourne Fringe Festival site  http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/lessons-with-luis-luis-presents-kidney-kingdom/

5 Good Reasons to see Rob Lloyd and Kelsey Gade in Pride Hard

This year for Melbourne Fringe Rob Lloyd (Who, Me and Ch 31’s Live on Bowen) is teaming up with new, up and comer Kelsey Gade to present the ultimate cinematic/literature mash-up…PRIDE HARDDie Hard in the style of Pride and Prejudice.

1. This is a completely different approach to the ‘mash-up’ format! I’ve done enough scenes, sketches and whole shows where we take something ‘classical’ and do a ‘modernized’ version of it, either through the genres of action, sci-fi or stuff like that. I wanted to take a risk this year and see if I could pull off a ‘modern’ story on a ‘classical’ style! It’s been great working with both Kelsey and Scott Gooding on this show.

2. All the characters are so great…it’s been so much fun throwing them all ‘into the pot’ as it were and seeing how they play together! From ‘wise guy’ hero John McClane to the ultimate suave bad guy Hans Gruber! From the creepy Mr Collins, the over the top hysterics of Mrs Bennet to the silly, giddy Kitty and Lydia. Two worlds really collide…but also somehow weirdly work.

3. You don’t have to be a Die Hard fan or a Pride and Prejudice lover to like the show…the story and the characters speak for themselves. Plus there are enough other pop culture references; from Harry Potter, South Park, Dr Who, Star Wars and the Disney movies to keep you interested!

4. It’s an extremely high energy show! Trying to cram a two hour film, a 367 page book and roughly 20 characters into under an hour takes quite a lot of stamina. On top of all that, the show is just two actors on stage creating the entire world with their bodies, voices and interactions. You won’t see this type of stuff on ‘The Shire’.

5. Basically it’s a show with everything: love, drama, comedy, action, dance, song…plus two performers in singlets…what more could you want in a Melbourne Fringe show?

Pride Hard is running til the 13th of Oct at The Meeting Room. North Melbourne Town Hall.
Tuesday to Staurday at 8pm. Sundays at 7pm.

To buy tickets go to: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/pride-hard/

Or for more information about the show go to: http://pridehard.com.au/

5 Good Reasons to see Bradley Storer – BLOODLINES – A GOTHIC CABARET

This cabaret show of songs by Tom Waits, Nick Cave et al, sounds like a great way to prepare for Halloween! He refers to it as an ‘after-dark feast’, pity he has such an early time slot at this time of year! I’m sure he’ll make you feel the darkness anyway.

1. It has not been conclusively proven to be harmful to your health.

2. There will be blood… And cupcakes.

3. Because I’m pretty.

4. You have an equal chance of having a ukulele love song being dedicated to you as you do of being demonically possessed ‘Exorcist’-style.

5. Because I know where you live.

Bradley Storer is performing Bloodlines – A Gothic Cabaret at The Butterfly Club for four nights only from October 11th details on the site http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/bloodlines-a-gothic-cabaret/

 

Exploding Heads Impro – A Night of Improvised Comedy

By Cathy Culliver

The very nature of improvisational comedy means the audience never knows what it’s going to get, and neither do the performers. It could all go horribly wrong, or it could all go hilariously right. At the end of the day, it all comes down to having quality performers on stage who know their stuff.

Luckily for Exploding Heads Impro, they have just that. Performing together only since May this year, this group of Melbourne performers are steadily building a reputation for being the newest, most exciting improvisation troupe on the scene, thanks to their weekly performances at Smith Street’s The 86.

In addition to their regular Monday night shows, the group is putting on extra Sunday and Thursday shows during the Melbourne Fringe, and it’s well worth checking out.

For the most part, the show I saw was really enjoyable. If there was a negative, it was that one or two of the performers looked a little lost on stage. There were several moments where I just wished they’d take the ball and run with it, and the show would have been so much better for it.

That being said, this was only a small problem. The rest of the ensemble were clearly very talented, experienced and completely at ease with the job ahead of them; that is, make up stuff on the spot and make sure it’s funny. Not an easy task, but they managed it really well.

The evening was split into two parts. The first was a battle of sorts, with two teams facing off in a series of different skits, each with its own rules for what the performers could and couldn’t do. Some of these worked really well, some less so, but hey, that’s the nature of improvisation.

The second part of the night was called “Flashback”, a sort of “This is Your Life” skit following the life of an imaginary character, with the ensemble cast jumping in to play characters in scenes from their life. What resulted on the night I was there was a rollicking take of a mother-killing male model named Tony with an unhealthy attachment to a chicken named Clarence. So as you can see, anything can happen.

Exploding Heads may not be the most polished comedy show you’ll see at the Fringe, but the unpredictable nature of the show is probably one of its biggest assets. It’s exciting to watch and see what these guys come up with, right there before your eyes.

Sure there are some awkward moments, but there are also very funny moments that make it all worth it. But I can’t tell you exactly what will happen; you’ll just have to come along yourself and see for yourself.

Its on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays until the 14th at The 86 in Smith St Fitzroy, for further info, visit the Melbourne Fringe website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/exploding-heads-impro/