By Colin Flaherty
Armed with a Moosehead Grant, Stuart Daulman has decided to stage his own funeral for this years’ Festival. With Jake Ludowyke as Pastor John, Daulman plays all the other roles that are paying tribute to him. A lot of the humour comes from the dismissive sentiments we hear from a soccer coach with a score to settle and an opportunistic fellow stand up – Justin “The Dustbin” Murray – (industry folk will find plenty to laugh at during his speech). Others provide not much more insight into the man as they wax lyrical about a youthful Daulman in their own odd ways. It was both a satire about disrespect of the dead and a wonderfully silly celebration of a regularly silly comedian.
Much like his stand up, the funeral proceedings have a slightly ramshackle feel to it. A detained friend dropped from the program at the last minute and a quickly thrown together slideshow speak volumes of the slight legacy of the man and are amusing ways that the show feels like it is always on the verge of falling apart despite being tightly scripted.
Ludowyke was a suitably poe-faced Pastor but was on the verge of corpsing occasionally, which delighted the audience. Unlike real funerals, guilty laughs are encouraged and expected. Kitted out in elaborate costumes, Daulman handled all the roles with ease. His brother was ridiculously serious in spite of a silly tribute requested by his late sibling and Granny was adorably scatterbrained. Everyone got the giggles when the choirboy first sang in falsetto…and continued to sing all the verses of Abide With Me.
My only complaint, despite Stu’s comedy colleague, Justin, making good with the promise to promote his own show “Bin Night“as we left, is that the service ended on a rather sombre note. Instead of ending on some sort of comedic bombshell or surprise, we quietly filed out of the room where we could marvel at the most elaborate and expensive prop of the festival. I’m sure many selfies will be taken with it, just as Stuart would have wanted.
Death of a Daulman is on at the Victoria Hotel – Acacia Room until April 22
By Alanta Colley
This sketch comedy quintet, consisting of Stuart Daulman, Dylan Cole, Jarryd Clifford, Andrew Belsten and Jake Ludowyke breathe new life into a well populated genre with their particular brand of silly, frantic and charming sketch comedy.
Things started off a little touch and go, with fears that the sketch troupe were going to rely on tired old cultural stereotype tropes of various nationalities; Mexicans, French, Scottish, etc. for laughs. And while these caricatures did form a substantial part of the show’s content the performers do manage to transcend predictability and add new depth, character and surprises to them.
There are many highlights throughout this show. The scene where a stick transforms in the hand of the performer into all manner of objects was absolutely mesmerising; proving high-tech props aren’t necessary to capture the imaginations of the audience. There are some fantastically complex displays of word play that grow ever more ludicrous as they carry on, and are a testament to the preparation put in by the performers.
While the rules and regulations of how sketch must be enacted seem almost set in stone Wizard Sandwiches do bring several new items to the table. The method by which they merge one sketch into the next created a fun intertextuality between sketches; displayed skill of the performers in switching seamlessly between characters, and created a second or two of delightful confusion for the audience as they grew familiar with this new technique.
The crew complement each other nicely; each bringing a distinct persona to proceedings with no one member dominating time or focus across the performance. The constant revolution between characters kept the plot fresh and the audience engaged.
Following in the fine footsteps of tradition of Monty Python and the Goodies, but not as absurd or confronting as League of Gentleman or Tim and Eric, you’re guaranteed a night of fun, frivolous and frenzied comedy.
The Last Lunch is on at Trades Hall – The Music Room until April 20
By Elyce Phillips
The Wizard Sandwiches (Andrew Belsten, Jarryd Clifford, Dylan Cole, Stuart Daulman and Jake Ludowyke) have hit the nail on the head once again with their latest offering, ‘The Last Lunch’ – a fantastically absurd hour of new sketches.
These guys get sketch comedy. In a genre that can be a bit hit and miss, you can really tell The Wizard Sandwiches have really put effort into honing their creations and shaping them into a show. Each scene blends seamlessly with the next, even when they are moving from a plane to the beach to a dental office. It’s that sort of finesse that makes the show feel polished, even with the cardboard prop tacos. As the gents point out in their Fringe blurb, there is no plot, but the show still feels structured. There are some great threads that run through the piece, getting funnier each time they are recalled. The sketches are inventive and well-paced, and you rarely see the punch line coming, largely because the endings are so bizarre.
A particular stand-out was a wordless sketch of Clifford’s, creating some great stuff using only a stick and some well-timed sound effects. It’s a simple idea, but executed brilliantly. However all of the performers are really strong. Everyone has a comedic approach that’s a little bit different, so they work beautifully as a team. The guys create a playful atmosphere that really draws in the audience.
‘The Last Lunch’ is very silly, sometimes surreal and a whole lot of fun. The Wizard Sandwiches are clearly developing their craft with each show they put on, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Wizard Sandwiches – ‘The Last Lunch’ is showing at the Fringe Hub – Meeting Room at the NorthMelbourneTown Hall.