By Colin Flaherty
This is an autobiographical account of Jason Chatfield’s life from chubby misfit kid in Karratha, W.A. to successful cartoonist. He takes us through hilarious tales of misfortune, luck and learning that see him enduring shitty jobs and encountering many inspiring people (and just as many annoying ones) on his way to becoming the heir apparent to James Kemsley, last in the line of the illustrators for Ginger Meggs and leading figure of Australian cartooning.
The staging of this show is ingenious with an easel taking prominence under a spot-light. Not only does Jason use this easel to draw people from his tales on the sheets of paper but projected animations (complete with audio) bring these characters to life. This is an efficient way to work with Jason only required to draw the an outline (a rather detailed one at that!) with the projections taking over the moving parts. Not just an impressive and clever device, this adds further avenues for humour with the characters criticising the quality of the drawings to Jason’s mock horror.
Jason interacts with his animations brilliantly by using broad gestures and comically exaggerated facial expressions to react to the comments uttered by this cavalcade of eccentric characters. From his tactless uncles to the weird old man on his paper route to his boss from hell, these people take centre stage in some hilarious anecdotes.
Quite a few self portraits pop up during the show, all are self deprecating and chart his emotional growth. There is also an artistic party trick linked to a childhood story that adds an element of danger as he attempts to pull it off successfully.
Even without all the visual tricks Jason is an engaging storyteller. His comic timing is spot on and he has a highly animated (no pun intended) delivery. Despite telling us in the story that he always tended to blend into the background he is a natural charmer on stage.
A show that sets out to motivate and inspire as much as to entertain, Jason uses his considerable artistic talents to present a rollicking yarn about following your dreams through all adversity. This is storytelling at its best.
Stand Up Comic Strip Live is on at the Locker Room at The Portland Hotel
By Colin Flaherty
Live cartoons drawn alongside stand-up comedy is an intriguing concept. Add a lively host in Alexandra Elizabeth Howell, four brave guest comedians, Illustrator Hadley Donaldson, a guest scribbler (in this case Jason Chatfield, who has his own cartoon based show), a willing audience and toasted cheese sandwiches, and you have Picture This!
Lining up to have their words immortalised visually at this particular show were Luke McGregor, Michael Hing, Claire Hooper and Celia Pacquola. Apart from Michael (who is a multiple visitor to the Picture This! stage) they performed sets that I have come to know almost word for word from seeing them often at local rooms. I was dying to see what dimension the drawings would add to their material.
The illustrators used one of two methods to work with the comedian; they either drew a literal representation of the jokes or they would toy with the performer and add their own humour to the images. Both were entertaining in their own way.
The literal method resulted in a detailed picture that grew as the routine went along and, while not always adding laughs to the source material, was a feat to behold. It was amazing how rapidly the illustrator worked as the jokes went through their life cycle. After the punchline was reached, it would have to be sadly erased (I hope copies are saved!) to make way for the next joke.
A loose cannon approach tested the comedian’s improv skills as they were forced off the script. Some performers suggested additions to the drawings to which the cartoonist would oblige with amusing results. For the most part it was an exercise in trying to embarrass the comedian with suggestive doodles (ie. lots of penises).
This is a show of sensory overload. Focusing on the screen runs the risk missing any nuances of the comedian’s performance but the words aren’t really the main focus of this show. If you are familiar with ta particular comic’s material you can see where this set goes visually while keeping an ear open for any instances of a curve ball being dealt with. Many times the comedian was surprised by what had been made of their words but usually they were intrigued by the visual representation of themselves.
It was a fun event and certainly something different from your bog standard stand up show with tight five sets. It left some interesting memory imprints to go along with the jokes.
Picture This! is on at The Tuxedo Cat
Jason Chatfield- Stand Up Comic Strip Live.
1. You won’t see anything like this in any other pub. Ever.
2. If you like drawing, animation, cartoons or drawing animated cartoons, you’re going to LOVE this show.
3. I do funny stories and me little skits that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years.
4. Please. I need this.
5. This is my first solo show. Then I’m moving overseas. It’s something of a farewell show.
The Axis of Awesome- Cry Yourself a River
1. We didn’t start the fire
2. It was always burning Since the world’s been turning
3. We didn’t start the fire
4. We didn’t light it
5. We tried to fight it
1. Audience participation in a show titled “So You’ve Decided To Host An Orgy“
2. A five foot long rubber tentacle
3. Fabulous audience giveaways!
4. A lot of our sets are improvisational, so you will never see the exact same show twice
5. We’re actually presenting three different shows but are too cheap to pay for separate listings, so we will have a fantastic variety between stand up, theatrical and vaudeville, depending which week you come see us (or a three show pass is available)