Stuart Daulman – Death of a Daulman

By Colin Flaherty

Armed with a Moosehead Grant, Stuart Daulman has decided to stage his own funeral for this years’ Festival. With Jake Ludowyke as Pastor John, Daulman plays all the other roles that are paying tribute to him. A lot of the humour comes from the dismissive sentiments we hear from a soccer coach with a score to settle and an opportunistic fellow stand up – Justin “The Dustbin” Murray – (industry folk will find plenty to laugh at during his speech). Others provide not much more insight into the man as they wax lyrical about a youthful Daulman in their own odd ways. It was both a satire about disrespect of the dead and a wonderfully silly celebration of a regularly silly comedian.

Much like his stand up, the funeral proceedings have a slightly ramshackle feel to it. A detained friend dropped from the program at the last minute and a quickly thrown together slideshow speak volumes of the slight legacy of the man and are amusing ways that the show feels like it is always on the verge of falling apart despite being tightly scripted.

Ludowyke was a suitably poe-faced Pastor but was on the verge of corpsing occasionally, which delighted the audience. Unlike real funerals, guilty laughs are encouraged and expected. Kitted out in elaborate costumes, Daulman handled all the roles with ease. His brother was ridiculously serious in spite of a silly tribute requested by his late sibling and Granny was adorably scatterbrained. Everyone got the giggles when the choirboy first sang in falsetto…and continued to sing all the verses of Abide With Me.

My only complaint, despite Stu’s comedy colleague, Justin, making good with the promise to promote his own show “Bin Night“as we left, is that the service ended on a rather sombre note. Instead of ending on some sort of comedic bombshell or surprise, we quietly filed out of the room where we could marvel at the most elaborate and expensive prop of the festival. I’m sure many selfies will be taken with it, just as Stuart would have wanted.

Death of a Daulman is on at the Victoria Hotel – Acacia Room until April 22

Rama Nicholas : After Ever After

By Alanta Colley

Disney would have you believe that a story has a beginning, middle, and an end. But stories don’t really ever end, do they?

Rama Nicholas takes us on a twisted, treacherous and cheeky journey into the lives of Grimm’s characters after the wedding bells have fallen silent, after the romance has faded and after the baddies have done their time in the clink.

Nicholas reclaims the macabre and gruesome tone that so many of Grimm’s fairy tales have been stripped of under a sanitised Disney treatment. Under Nicholas’ mischievous re-imagining we learn of the darker side of some of the sweeter heroines. We hear what the seven dwarves got up to after Snow White’s wedding day. We learn of tortured love affairs Disney never would have condoned. We learn of vengeance, of martial arts training, of addictions and many more vices unmentioned until now. All of this takes place in the appropriately-named city of Grimland.

Nicholas single-handedly delivers a packed cast of no less than fifteen well known fairy tale folk. The performance is a sophisticated feat of agility as she skilfully enacts a scene with up to eight characters all by herself. That she can leap from one character to the next in a split second without leaving the audience behind is a testament to Nicholas’ theatrical abilities. Each character is superbly developed; with rich accents and diverse physicalities and relatable motivations, enabling Nicholas to safely carry us into the realm of willing suspension of disbelief using a minimum of props or effects.

The performance is dotted with musical ditties; each number quite captivating. Nicholas displays being as musically talented as she is as a writer and performer. She’s also not afraid to take her characters to saucy encounters!

Nicholas is a divine physical story teller. Lose yourself in this rich, ridiculous and raucous piece of theatre. A delightful hour of enchanting and twisted tales to behold.

After Ever After is on at the Portland Hotel – Locker Room until April 20