There has been a lot a buzz about this show. Many have told about the wild, debauched exploits of its performers. It generated so much interest that extra late night shows were added to its limited week long run. The basic premise is of a variety show where anything can happen. The line ups are closely guarded secrets and tickets are sold with the warning “No Refunds.” Colour me intrigued!
The core cast comprised of John Campbell, Greg Larsen and Henry Stone who, along with special guests from the festival, portrayed the acts performing at this variety night from hell. We saw stand up from the “king of crowd work”, a piss-weak song parodist, a magical duo, an inappropriate song by Geraldine Hickey’s conservationist, a high tech clairvoyant, Jonathan Schuster in Singer/Songwriter mode and a Rock Eisteddfod entry.
A lot of shows and performers sell themselves as edgy or dangerous but this one comes damn close to fitting that bill. The all male cast makes for quite a testosterone filled hour with male nudity and frequent jokes about penises and bodily fluids. Some of it was a little repetitive but generally this was very clever smut that had the audience in stitches. It is certainly not for the faint hearted and we did lose a couple from the front row who found it all too much.
The variety show conceit provided a brilliant forum to cleverly ridicule all manner of acts who perform at the festival, making it perfect for comedy nerds and fellow performers who get off on this naughty meta humour. All the “acts” were ridiculous stereotypes of their genre or the worst examples who were portrayed beautifully in the short time we were with them; no unnecessary background was required to laugh at these pitiful souls who were thrown into this bear pit of a show.
Our host (played by Stuart Daulman) kept the show moving along at a cracking pace. The acts usually didn’t overstay their welcome after we had cottoned on to the joke, occasionally stopped short by the MC which was a great bit of scripting. It was something sketch troupes should take note of
If you’re not too prudish and up for a dangerous and filthy late night show this is an awesome choice. Make sure you get in early before all the comedians fill up the room.
Fancy Boy Variety Show is on at the Imperial Hotel at 12:15, Thursday to Saturday until April 18