By Colin Flaherty
The Late Night Party Boyz (Ross Purdy and Damien Vosk) bill themselves as absurdist sketch which is not far off the mark. In this not so late show they throw everything at the wall, some of it sticks while the rest leaves you scratching you head. Their high energy performance ensures you won’t be bored.
The advertised theme of rebellion kinda fit this collection of sketches that went in all sorts of surprising directions. Scenes regularly overshot their natural conclusions just so they could club us over the head with some social commentary even though this was repeating what we had already seen in the body of the sketch. There was plenty of cartoon violence complete with wacky sound effects and grotesque characters to chuckle at. Video segments with comically underwhelming punchlines were very repetitive, which was by design but not a joy to sit through.
Things regularly got meta with sketches discussing the scenes we had just witnessed. Offhand comments and rants about the tropes and shortcomings of sketch shows were a none too subtle wink to the audience combined with a slap to the face.
Audience participation varied from being warm bodies for them to project back-stories onto through to somewhat embarrassing situations usually involving foodstuffs. The “Mr Ice cream” sketch was fascinating to witness as it was so creepy from the outset that absolutely everyone was reluctant to play along. It’s a good thing they had some amusing patter and an additional character to throw on stage to fill in the very long time before the action could proceeded.
Purdy and Vosk played everything big and bold, bringing this cavalcade of weirdos to life. They certainly weren’t afraid of looking foolish for the sake of a laugh and we readily giggled at the degrading things they did to one another. The debris left on the stage at the end was an apt reminder of how the duo had given their all to entertain.
If you like it freaky, messy and too clever for it’s own good, you’ll have a grand time at this hour of lunacy.
Rebel Without Applause is on at The Tickle Pit at The Croft Intitute until April 20
1) Following on from last year’s “Clownbaby”, Ross Purdy is upping the ante as if it needed to be upped but he’s upping it anyway. “Surreal” or “absurdist” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of this insanity. “Dadaist” maybe?
2) Not for the faint of the heart, for the real freaks who wanna get amongst it. So if you’re a real freak who loves getting amongst it, here’s the it to amongst.
3) Someone FINALLY makes fun of Christianity.
4) A brand new adorable baby-like character the festival will fall in love with!
5) Adelaide critics say “Like Lars Von Trier and David Lynch tried to out-mindf*** each other” and that Purdy goes “full Brando in Apocalypse Now” and is “just waiting to see which Dennis Hopper comes out of the jungle to tag along” which means you – the audience, which by my perspective is better than being Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.
Kentucky Fried God Murder is on at The Tickle Pit at The Croft from March 27 to April 6
1) It’s a late night comedy show without the pesky inconvenience of a late night time slot.
2) The closet thing to an Adult Swim cartoon being performed live on stage.
3) Ross is in sketch comedy duo “Late Night Party Boyz” along with Damien Vosk and written for “Dr. Duck” so he’s been around the block a few times, alright mister, he’s cool, he’s hip – your old man is still with it, Rodney. Sorry that last part was for my son.
4) You’ve got nothing else to do. I know what you do. I see where you live, and you’re hardly living up as the Queen of England I tell you that much. A Queen of the England that wouldn’t see this show is no Queen of mine – which is why I want Australia to be a Republic.
5) Show contains traces of: Reality talent shows, ’90s teen movies, La La Land & Ryan Gosling, milk, Triple J, 1970s businessman biopics and a whole section about the final days of the Cold War that was cut due to its jarring tonal shift and introduction characters into the show that up to that point were nowhere to be seen.
Ross Purdy – Clownbaby is on The Sub Club, 33 Elizabeth St (entry via Flinders Court) 6:15pm, Sundays 5:15pm March 28th to April 8th (No Show April 4th)
By Colin Flaherty
After a triumphant debut at last years’ festival, Dr Duck (Andrew Keen, Seon Williams, Ross Purdy, Olivia Solomons, Jon Walpole and Eidann Glover) are back with another hour of sketch madness. Sinister fishermen, an inept James Bond, bureaucratic Neanderthals and an educational piece of fruit are some of the crazy characters we meet in this amusing smorgasbord of scenes.
As with most sketch comedy the quality varies with each scenario but there are enough great ideas to keep you amused over the hour. Some are single joke premises that form a series of recurring jokes with a tepid punchline. One sketch is blatantly signposted as filler but despite being full of clever meta references it does exactly what it says on the tin. Other scenes go on a bit long and the punchlines aren’t quite as punchy as they could be. The upshot is that the journey usually contains plenty of hilarious lines, eye-rolling puns and wacky concepts to keep interest up and laughs rolling.
This is broad comedy and the cast sell the material hard; projecting to the back row and exaggerating all gestures and vocal inflections. It’s always great seeing performers exude their enthusiasm to the audience to make sure everyone has a great time. Purdy is less theatrical in his performance than the others but the oddball roles he is given are appropriate for his delivery style and have plenty of wacky dialogue to carry them.
The cast build their worlds using minimal props and lots of mime which works a treat. Transitions between scenes are pleasingly brisk and the choice of music accompanying the blackouts are cheekily related to the preceding sketch for an added giggle.
General Quacktitioner is a solid offering from this young sketch troop. I’m sure they’ll have enough interested in this fun hour to come back next year with another Anatidae/Medical pun title.
General Quacktitioner is on at The Tickle Pit until April 9
1) Damien has a background in improv and stand up, so if he forgets his lines he can just adlib his way out of it. Once during rehearsal, his adlibbing ended up turning the show into Death of a Salesman. Briefly considered just doing that show instead. Ross is just some guy off the street.
2) Damien & Ross have won the award for ‘Most Handsomest Well-Behaved Boys You’d Feel Comfortable Taking Home To Your Mum”. And as we all know, awards are never not a high indicator of quality. Always. Always. Always
3) Rejected sketches for the show include “Damien & Ross Meet Frankenstein’s Ghost”, “Damien & Ross Punch Malcolm Turnbull Way Up In The Guts”, “Fried Rice Pregnancy”, “Damien and Ross Visit the Doctors But Whoops Turns Out the Doctor Isn’t Qualified and Isn’t Very Smart” – if hot comedy gold like that was thrown into the dumpster fire of rejection, just imagine what they’d spit up on stage for their show.
4) Alternative sketch comedy written, produced and starring two silly hamboys who worked extra hard to make the funny ha-has for you all. If you hate this show, you hate joy and happiness.
5) This show IS 2016. A comedy show for millennials. Absurdity and gross out humour in place of wit, baby! It’s what the young people want It’s a way of channeling our Gen-Y frustration you old folks! Intelligence? Intelligence is for smart people! If you don’t get our hip n’ happening references,, just go back to listening to ABC National Radio old timers. Punk rock! If you don’t like it, don’t come. But please come.
Damien & Ross in Safari Psychosis opens September 15th and goes til the 23rd at 7:15pm (No show Wednesday) at Tuxedo Cat
By Colin Flaherty
Apocaparty Destruct-a-thon: Presented by Demente Grande Variety Hour. The title alone had me intrigued in Ross Purdy’s show and the blurb in the guide accurately sums up what you can expect; a “hot soup of existential dread and bizarre stupidity”.
This show explores the concepts of failure, crushed dreams and parental disappointment. These themes are fertile territory for comedy but Purdy often struggles to find the funny. He discusses his character’s mental issues rather dryly to the odd nervous titter so he had to resort to graphic turns of phrase and extreme self-deprecation to get most of the laughs. With these topics you would expect to see some sort of interesting character arc, but this is not the case as the aforementioned existential dread quashes any such notions. Aside from repeatedly pounding us with the fact that life is shit he doesn’t seem to be telling us anything else let alone offer any solutions.
An awful lot of his show is weirdness just for the sake of it. While this sits nicely with his theme of mental illness it lacks cleverness and employs absolutely no subtlety. There’s plenty of gross out humour that’s quite puerile and garners guilty chuckles. The biggest reactions he gets are from the many acts of self-flagellation which tend to be more awkward than laugh out loud (although the sadists in the crowd would say otherwise). You have to pay very close attention to follow the storyline buried amongst all the madness. His jumping between disparate thoughts may have been an appropriate way to demonstrate a breakdown on stage but it was difficult to sit through. In a similar manner, the finale to this performance is a rambling affair with numerous false endings dragging things out unnecessarily.
Performance wise, this is very messy. He regularly fumbles through a box of props which is distracting and the performance space ends up as an apt pigsty. Purdy uses a lot of pre-recorded dialogue to react to and generally does a good job of it but the effects heavy voices are often difficult to decipher particularly when combined with a musical soundtrack. Similarly his monologues go from quiet mumbling to shouting; again appropriate for the character but difficult to comprehend. He certainly has a distinct and unique voice, and commits wholeheartedly to selling this show but it’s a shame that his delivery can be so impenetrable.
One aspect I found intriguing and amusing were a number of moments self-critiquing his own performance while having digs at comedic conventions. His acknowledgement to the audience that he is well aware that this is all a bit of a shemozzle is cute but doesn’t really make things any more palatable.
While certainly a wild ride, this Apocaparty seems happy to wallow in the gutter rather than reach for the stars. If the humour of humiliation appeals you may find something to tickle your fancy but those hoping for something more coherent and substantial will find it a bit too much to cope with.
Apocaparty Destruct-a-thon: Presented by Demente Grande Variety Hour is on at Pleasance House Comedy until April 17