Kate Dehnert & Bec Petraitis : Swamped

Reviewed by Colin Flaherty

This two handed play told the tale of Roy (Kate Dehnert) and Frank (Bec Petraitis), struggling in the cut-throat and morally bankrupt world of Digital Marketing. This rollicking farce of workplace hostility and friendship was a wonderful showcase for this pair’s acting talents.

We got the tropes of a classic comedy pair. Dehnert’s alpha female was barely holding together a sense of control as her world crumbled, going into riotous fits of rage in dealing with ignorant clients. Meanwhile Petraitis really shone as second fiddle Frank who was furiously treading water with a hysterical look of wide eyed panic permanently plastered on her face. Her anxiety really endeared you to this underdog.

Both portrayed their characters big, loud and over the top which was the perfect way to convey the comic desperation of the piece. The dialogue bounced along at a fair clip as we were treated to plentiful amusing quips and a little bit of slapstick.

The action essentially took place in one room requiring the set to darken only a few times to reset props. There were nice little touches in the cubical décor that suggested that all was not well in this place of business…not that you really had all that much time to take your eyes off the action of this engaging story.

The sound and lighting design was superb – particularly during a series of vignettes with gloomy music and a grey hue to denote the drudgery of office life. Other pieces of music cleverly matched the action and dialogue to heighten the absurdity.

In addition to the exaggerated conflict that drove this show there were some inspired ideas in the periphery of the main story. Daft product samples that the duo were trying to market were suitably strange and lead to some brilliant running jokes.

Dehnert and Petraitis are gifted writers and performers separately but together they are a powerhouse double act. Swamped is a damn fine result of this partnership.

Swamped is on at Trades Hall until April 24

5 Good reasons to see ‘Kate Dehnert – Pony Yell’

1. Kate plays a Pony with a bad back.

2. Ponies are excellent mail deliverers, and this show will reinforce that important fact.

3. Because you can relate to having a letterbox.

4. And you can relate to having a version of yourself stuck in another dimension who communicates through the mail.

5. Plus you can relate to the frustrations of work and having a co-worker sucked into your computer, who then takes a dump in the recycling bin.

Kate Dehnert : Pony Yell is on at the Imperial Hotel. For more information and bookings visit the website:

Kate Dehnert : Noise Adventure

By Alanta Colley

Noise Adventure is a hallucinogenic cocktail of wicked beats, neon face paint, surreal streams of consciousness and tiny little pom poms.

Melbourne- based comic and composer Kate Dehnert channels Bowie, the Mighty Boosh, and a little bit of Bow Peep as she rocks out with her frock out to a cacophony of electro dance wiggety wiggety noises – if that is what the kids are calling it these days.

The audience holds on for dear life as we barrel down the rabbit hole into the strange world of Dehnert’s inner associations. Dehnert occupies a niche market of songs about salmon and trampolines, Rube Goldberg-esque house-hold accidents, obscure DJs and emotional breakdowns in the work place. Dehnert slips seamlessly between mundanity and fantasy, and innocence and mayhem. Anything is possible. There’s no time for conventional punch lines here. This is a true work of unique brilliance.

The songs are great and only surpassed by the soliloquies. Dehnert plays out the diary of an Arts student sent on a one way ticket to Mars, and all the unforeseen consequences that this affords. A lot more happened but I was too busy laughing to take proper notes.

Dehnert is a messiah of musical mania. A purveyor of unpredictability. Her energy throughout this performance is explosive. Flustered and frantic Dehnert gives the impression she’s almost a passenger to the craziness along with us. There’s nothing else that approaches this show at the Festival. Weird and thoroughly wonderful are just the starting point. This show is cheaper than acid and has fewer of the long term side effects. This review doesn’t do it justice. You’ll just have to go and experience the aural psychedelic adventure on your own.

Noise Adventure is on at The Duke of Wellington Hotel until April 7