By Colin Flaherty
There are shows that turn up in the comedy section of the Fringe program that look interesting on paper but turn out to contain only a sprinkling of comedy. “Who Is Dani Cabs?” is such a show in which various tools of comedic performance are employed but the writing lets the show down.
Dani Cabs told a series of stories from his life that were certainly interesting but, aside from a few humorous asides, some “clowning”, mugging to the crowd and plenty of audience embarrassment, these tales contained very little in the way of humorous lines. Perhaps the stories were somewhat amusing to his family and friends who knew the characters he talked about, but they only portrayed him as a self-absorbed and lazy person that wasn’t the wacky guy he obviously wanted to sell.
Cabs is certainly an energetic and vibrant performer but there were issues with his storytelling skills -in particular what he decided to include in or omit from his tales. He glossed over details that would clarify things and seemed to be important as to how we empathised with him but then he went into immense detail about the minutiae of other more mundane scenes. His tales may have related to the point he was building towards but each one trailed off without any comedic payoff. There was also an issue with how he played with status on stage – beginning as an arrogant character he finally painted himself as a flawed human towards the end, but by that stage it was too late as you didn’t particularly care for him or hadn’t been given clear reasons to empathise.
His idea of clowning was to creep around the room wrapped in his orange poncho, shout incoherently or in Spanish, and molest audience members. There were plenty of heavy-handed attempts to get the crowd to participate in chanting and singing sessions that were often like pulling teeth with this stunned audience. He was giving it a red hot go but he lacked the Gaulier skills needed to pull this style of comedy off.
While he changed costumes he screened some bizarre video “commercials” that were meant to be surreal but lacked anything resembling a punchline and were repetitive. The last tied into the theme that he used to conclude the show, but they were not particularly funny.
Cabs should be commended for presenting a frank and personal show but calling it a comedy was a huge stretch. If you’re looking for laughs here, you will probably be left wanting.
Who is Dani Cabs? is on at the Tuxedo Cat until September 22nd
1. It’s a show about my love of board games and playing board games with friends. I’ve played a heap of them over the years, and have managed to find the most interesting, unique, and fun games and will bring them to the stage for some great gameplay.
2. Cool kids can’t stay away from a Slumber Party. Each edition has four special guests – comedians, musicians, artists and more competing for your love – but more importantly to say they are the Slumber Party Board Game Champion!
3. But those guests aren’t just playing for themselves – they could be playing for YOU! Each of the guests is playing for a member of the audience, with the winning audience member getting a board game of their own to take home.
4. The show is the perfect night-cap for a Friday night at the Fringe. Spend some time at the Imperial seeing Neil Sinclair, Victoria Healy, or Simon Taylor; then finish the night off with a Slumber Party!
5. It’s free. Board games, awesome guests, the chance to win a prize, and it doesn’t cost you a cent. Get your friends together and make a night of it.
The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party with Mike Brown and Friends is on Friday September 27 and Friday September 4, 11pm at the Imperial Hotel.
By Elyce Phillips
Writing reviews can be hard. You go and see a show and that’s all well and good, but then you have to somehow make words on a page about it and it’s all an awful lot of effort. Luckily, Ben Pobjie has made life easy for the critics among us by providing a short leaflet of suggested things to write when reviewing ‘Let’s Put On A Show’. And so… Ben Pobjie’s ‘Let’s Put On A Show’ is “a lot like having balloon animals forced down your throat by a Nazi.” I can say without doubt that “I spent the whole time vomiting on myself”. Wait, no. That won’t do at all. Let me start over.
Ben Pobjie’s ‘Let’s Put On A Show’ is a quick-witted improvisational exploration of comedic performance. Over the course of the hour, Pobjie attempts to uncover exactly what it is we, as an audience, want from a comedy show. He takes us through the essential components of any performance, from hecklers to joke topics, collaborating with the audience to figure out what we would consider to be the perfect show. Scattered throughout are stories about what drew Pobjie to comedy and his ongoing quest for fame.
Be prepared to get involved. This is an interactive show in an intimate venue, so you really don’t have anywhere to hide. Now, the words “audience participation” have been known to strike fear into the heart of many a festival goer – myself among them – but be assured that it is not as terrifying as it may sound. Pobjie works with the crowd to create comedy, as opposed to singling out individuals to be the butt of the joke.
On the night I attended, there were moments where the audience was reticent to participate, but on the whole, they were willing to collaborate, throwing out the topic of “cute animals” as the thing they’d most like to see a show about. Pobjie’s ability to take a topic and run with it is impressive. Cute animals may not be an intuitive source for comedy, but Pobjie managed to take the discussion in a hilarious and somewhat disturbing direction after discovering that a gentleman in the front row had a cat named Barbarella. The more the audience puts into this show, the more you will get back.
‘Let’s Put On A Show’ is great fun. Go along, get involved and you won’t be disappointed. I for one hope to see our chosen production – ‘Barbarella the Cat and the Japanese Slitface Ghost Go Camping’ – at the Comedy Festival next year.
Ben Pobjie – Let’s Put On A Show is on at Son of Loft at the Lithuanian Club until October 13