By Lisa Clark
At first glance in the Fringe Guide this show might look like another business seminar spoof but that is only a small part of a stunning, beautifully structured show about the inequalities of wealth between women and men from the general experience, gradually working its way deep down to the very personal.
It is always a joy to discover a new talented comic performer, but Elizabeth Davie is something else, she has definite star power. Smart, brilliant at both physical comedy and stand up, good character work and not a bad puppeteer. She has created a beautifully arrogant spokesperson for the Super Woman Money Program – which is a real actual thing. I received the email with lame saving tips from my Superannuation fund and when I got to the tip ‘Avoid Divorce’, I thought WTF is this crap?? So did Elizabeth obviously and turned it into a smashing Festival show. I found it not only hilarious fun but quite brave of Elizabeth to name her show after the thing she is lampooning.
Elizabeth’s Super Woman Money Program is beautifully formed from four major interwoven strands that have come from her real life experience. There is her spokeswoman representing the programs for women run by Superannuation companies, her personal stand up comedy about the insecure life of a struggling artist with a HUGE education debt (many in the audience could relate to this!), the adorable and simple puppetry that was the voice of her email inbox and finally a story. Another huge inspiration for this show was Jane Gilmore’s The Cost of Womanhood and Elizabeth makes a rather brave decision to stop the momentum of the hilarious show to read the entire story. There are no laughs here, the audience is silenced as it goes on the journey with Elizabeth.
Another brave decision is to open and close the show by singing (badly) along with Shirley Bassey. We finally discover a shortfall in Elizabeth’s broad talent. But somehow, here the lack of singing ability is not a big problem, it works because it is more like primal screaming; opening the show as an ironic cry of help from a poor player on the stage from a high status character (Hey Big Spender) and the closing song (This is My Life) as a howl of defiance and pride from herself on behalf of us all.
Sadly this fantastically joyful feminist comedy show had a very short run at Melbourne Fringe, particularly as so much work has obviously gone into it. This was everything a great Fringe show should be, a brilliant performer with bags of potential, a show that is wildly entertaining and hilariously funny using different forms of performance, with political nuance that lives with the audience long after the show has ended.
Super Woman Money Program was on at Lithuanian Club – Son of Loft
1. The show is a countdown of the worst sex tips ever written by Cosmopolitan Magazine
2. You will learn sex moves involving grapes, your hair, pepper, lube, and ukuleles. They are all terrible.
3. You can see a bisexual, polyamorous American storytelling comedian. Mark that one off your bucket list.
4. There is a dream sequence that involves the death of Donald Trump. It’s very (if only temporarily) theraputic.
5. Silver spandex. Light up dildo. Enough said.
COSMONAUT by Ryan Good is on at The Arts House Sept 16 til Oct 1
By Lisa Clark
The Astruds are a musical duo with a show full of great songs, beautiful singing and lots of laughs. Sarah Wall & Freya Long could easily have chosen to be a straight music duo but they have chosen the more interesting comedy song path and they have chosen well.
Opening with Sarah strumming her guitar wearing headphones sitting on the floor in a living room, there is a sense that the Astruds are letting us into their twenty-something world of life after an arts degree, in a share house on the dole. For anyone who’s older and been there, there is a great deal of enjoyment to be had from the nostalgia, little has changed. Many performers pick a theme and try to shoehorn their non-theme material into it, but The Astruds stay on theme throughout, illustrating their world with songs like “Give me a Job”, “I’m wearing Grandma’s rags”, “The Centrelink Blues”, “When Will I be a Celebrity?” and “Where does the money go” and the lyrics are clever and funny.
The Astruds main inspiration clearly comes from Garfunkle & Oates and Flight of The Conchords in song style, gentle melodic harmonies and also a grunge aesthetic, but then this grungey style may have been specifically implemented to fit in with the show’s theme. The grand finale shows they can do sazzy showbiz and they sprinkle some minor cute costume additions throughout. These are taken on by Sarah and include grandma’s robe for “..Grandma’s Rags”, a Tutti Fruity hat for the charming Brazillian inspired “Fruit Song” and finally a decoupaged sparkly hat with a tribute to Queen B (which I couldn’t see clearly up the back) whom I assumed was Beyonce, but the song “Chocolate” was clearly based on the tune to “Toxic” by another “B” Britney Spears. It had the audience laughing a lot which is the main thing.
Sarah and Freya are very good comedy song writers who only need to put more work into their appealing on stage personas and in-between song banter to have a top comedy festival show on their hands. They need to fearlessly commit to the anger and frustration of sharehouse conflict and dealing with passive aggressive housemates, this helps give the show more dramatic interest and colour. The comedy writing in the songs is so good that comedy banter between the songs should be a piece of cake! My other advice would be for the duo to tell us their names at the top and let us get to know them (or at least the stage version of them) a bit more.
Australia has produced some of the best musical comedy in the world and I’ve been waiting for the new wave of musical comedy talent for a while. Earlier this year I was astonished by the musical comedy talent of Jude Perl and now I’m impressed by The Astruds. Sarah Wall & Freya Long are excellent musicians with gorgeous harmonising voices and funny songs to sing. Things are looking good for musical comedy.
The Astruds perform Rent (is Due) at The Butterfly Club til Sept 18
1. It mixes the absurdity of a post-apocolyptic world with all the fun and chaos of the Olympics.
2. It answers the question “What if Trump wins the election?” – with the best possible outcome.
3. You love eating American-style BBQ and then enjoying a show. Or vice-versa.
4. You want to see a show with a hive mind, mutants, the hybrid half-chicken/half-turkey “churkey”, crow giants, Greg, guessing games and news broadcasts all in one show.
5. You have this intense desire to use a promo code. And the promo code is CHURKEY.
ApocOlympics is on at The Tickle Pit @ Fancy Hank’s from September 28 to October 2.
Visit the Melbourne Fringe website for further details:
1 – We’re emerging comedians and would love to get some exposure and constructive feedback
2 – We’re a mildly diverse team of four and we all had a hand in sketches, so we hope we’ve ended up with a good array of styles and topics
3 – Literally no audience participation! we might be emerging but we know enough to know everyone hates that. so you can chill out and take your shoes off!
4 – It’s only $10! So you can spend the rest on authentic Dairy Kweenz merch! (we’ll be auctioning off our costumes later)
5 – We don’t think it’s funny anymore because we rehearsed it so many times, but we remember when we thought it was funny so we hope you will too.
Human Garbage is by Dairy Kweenz who are Colwyn Buckland, Taylor Griffiths, Filip Lescaut, Lena Moon & Ivy Latimer)
It is on at The Improv Conspiracy Sept 14 – 23
By Colin Flaherty
Line By Line pretty much did what it says on the tin – two comedians stood on stage and alternated in telling one liners and short jokes. The result was an entertaining half hour of silliness.
For the most part the jokes followed no rhyme nor reason in their ordering and covered a plethora of topics, although the duo had a penchant for gags about sex and violence (though not in the same sentence!). They ranged from clever to stupid, wordplay to absurd, puns to Dangerfield-esque quips. Occasional they created a run of gags on a particular topic but for the most part a scattergun approach was used.
While he had some great material in his arsenal, Rohan Ganju’s delivery of his material was appalling. His time on stage consisted of shuffling through a huge pile of cards to select his next gag and reading it verbatim in the most uninterested manner imaginable. Perhaps this slacker persona was deadpan shtick (there nothing that could be construed as a wink to the audience, just a numbness) but for someone advertising that he was a runner up in Raw Comedy, I would expect just a hint of professionalism.
Geoff Setty on the other hand had a wonderful stage persona displaying plenty of enthusiasm and wonderful timing. Even though he resorted to a set list half way through, he recited his jokes from memory and sold them hard regardless of their worthiness. Setty was the main instigator of banter between this pair and was quick to offer up a witty aside and cleverly deal with a few late-comers entering the tiny venue.
Overall they were a curious odd couple that kinda worked in this ramshackle world that they had created. Setty did the majority of the audience engagment while Ganju was in his own little world and became the butt of some gentle humorous insults. It was cute when each declared that they had run out of jokes towards the end of their time but there was also the sneaking suspicion that they actually had and were indeed this poorly prepared. If you’re looking for a slick fringe show, you’re probably in the wrong place.
Although this was a fun and silly distraction before a big Saturday night at the Fringe, it remains to be seen if people are prepared to pay a premium for such a slight show. Its short running time ensures this duo doesn’t outstay their welcome but you could probably get the same experience of scruffy stand up comedians telling one-liners at any one of this city’s many weekday rooms for half the price.
Line By Line is on at the Courthouse Hotel until October 3rd