Tea With Dystopia

By Colin Flaherty

When you put comedians Marek Platek and Firdi Billimoria together you get one weird sketch show. From a bizarre instructional tape about interacting with others to a vacuum powered IQ adjustment device to the sound guy gingerly bringing out pictures to share with the audience, this was an hour that threw many strange ideas at the wall and hoped that they would stick. A lot of it was weirdness for weirdness sake but they managed to keep the audience in hysterics throughout.

It was quite a wild ride with sketches that went all over the place and kept the audience on their toes. These sketches were generally a bit too long but by packing in as much variety as possible they ensured that interest rarely waned. They often veered into completely unrelated territory within a sketch. We assumed that they had segued into the next one by stealth but, through some twisted logic, they would connect back to the original idea and tie things up; sometimes neatly. Some scenes went to brilliant inspired places but others just petered out and had everyone scratching their heads over what they just witnessed. Regular deconstruction of the show and call backs displayed a clever side to the silliness and faux spats gave the impression that everything could fall apart at any minute.

The thing that kept it all glued together was Platek and Billimoria’s talent in selling the material. Billimoria was great in being comically shouty and playing things straight while Platek did something wacky in the background. Platek pleased the crowd with his exaggerated facial expressions and was always up for stripping off his gear to look silly. The guys bounced effortlessly off one another and maintained impressive control over this anarchic setting even amidst an audience revolt. There was plenty of comedic tension to spice things up with some colourful insulting phrases and lots of slapstick, between each other as well as some innocent bystanders.

Those expecting clear narrative structure may find themselves getting a little lost but those in the mood for the strange and bizarre will have a fine time.

Tea With Dystopia is on at The Portland Hotel at 10:15pm until September 30

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/tea-with-dystopia/

5 Good Reasons to see Notanotion by Billy O’Reilly and Firdi Billimoria

5 Good Reasons from Billy & Firdi
1) Notanotion is a show written by comedians Firdi Billimoria & Billy O’Reilly, but ironically is performed by Billy O’Reilly and Firdi BIllimoria who are comics. Not only does it feature stand-up comedy, but it will also feature sketches, videos, and a contrived kidnapping. 2 comedians for the price of something that costs $15

2) Notanotion is a made up word, which could mean anything. It also could mean something. The thing that it means could be revealed to you if you come to the show. Other revelations during the show include the origins of a Sopranos guest cast member, the winner in a Root Vegetable verbal battle, and the truth behind the mental health industry.

3) Notanotion is playing at Club Voltaire in North Melbourne. A venue renowned for its support of diverse and innovative artists, but probably more renowned for its covert location. Tucked away in a small side street in North Melbourne, your friends will think you are on the cusp of the in-crowd by leading them to this magical hidden venue. Our recommendation, while walking down the Raglan St, look over your shoulder suspiciously a couple of times, and when you reach the door pretend to make a phone call and utter the words “The lyre bird sings in the pale moonlight,” and then pretend to hang up. If you follow those steps, your friends will hit “Like” more often when you post status updates about your uninteresting life.

4) Notanotion is playing right around the corner from the Fringe Hub, so you have the opportunity to see a multitude of other awesome shows right before or after it (look…. we know you also have the option to see other awesome shows during Notanotion, but we dont want to say that, so we’re not going to OK…OK?) And then maybe head to the Fringe Club, for a some beverages, artistic indecency and general sadness.

5) The following will not be a result of watching Notanotion: Diarrhea, delusions of grandeur, bipolar disorder, dysentery, a sense of decorum, syphilis, feline AIDs or dream fulfillment. The following will: chortles, lols, rofls, and other irritating acronyms.

Notanotion is playing at the always groovy Club Voltaire 14 Raglan St. North Melbourne at 8.30pm

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/notanotion/