Showko: Occasions

By Peter Newling  

Fringe info refers to the Music Room at the Fringe Hub (Melbourne Trades Hall) as ‘our most isolated venue’. And I think this is a reasonable description. Not located within the beautiful old Trades Hall complex, if you head outside and up a desolate stair case, you’ll eventually find it at the end of a couple of poster-bedecked hallways.

It was delightful, then, having found the venue, to come inside and be greeted by a techie rocking out to a Japanese version of “Holding Out For A Hero”. Showko is a high energy act, and it appears that her energy has rubbed off onto her crew.

There is no doubt that Showko (Showko Showfukutei) is very good at what she does. I certainly have no claim to being an expert in ventriloquism, but she certainly ticked all the boxes that this audience member expects of a ventriloquist – a great range of voices, movement-free lips, and a great relationship with her audience and ‘co-stars’. And hey, you don’t get to be a finalist on Australia’s Got Talent (2016) unless you’re good at your craft.

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to ventriloquise in one’s second language. Or to sing in a range of voices. But this very experienced performer handled these challenges with great humour and enthusiasm. Whilst admiring the technique, I found some of the content a bit clunky. Some of the gags felt a bit dated or predictable. It’s definitely old school stuff. Billed as kooky and off-beat, I found it a far more gentle kind of humour – nothing biting or vicious or crude. But she does show that a fondness for a fart gag is universal.

Some of the sketches went on a bit too long, and some of the audience involvement was a bit awkward, but Showko’s natural charm and warmth lets her get away with it. Her energy is infectious. She has the enthusiasm of a kids’ party performer. And the finale requires abs of steel.

Always an admirer of brave wardrobe choices, I noticed that Showko has chosen a much more spiky outfit than one would expect of one working with inflatable co-stars.

If you have a liking for old-school comedy styles, gags and routines, head across to the Music Room and meet Showko and her friends. Who knows – you may become one of her co-stars.

Showko – Occasions is playing  Sept 24 – 29 at the Fringe Hub: Trades Hall – Music Room 

Tickets through

Showko – Absolutely Normal

By Lisa Clark 

If you are looking for something a bit different, a bit kooky and a complete hoot, has Showko got a show for you! This has got everything; suicidal Ninja cat, romantic Sushi Master, flat Hello Kitty and a lesson in the ancient Japanese art of Rakugo.

Showko is multi skilled and multi lingual, performing all her skills in a language that is not her first which is impressive in itself. Originally from Japan, Showko is possibly best known as a highly skilled comedic ventriloquist and she certainly shows off some gobsmacking vent skills here. The puppets she uses are all homemade and as quirky as Showko herself.

If you are a fan of things Japanese, Absolutely Normal is definitely an enchanting introduction to Japanese culture in entertainment. Ever the enthusiastic host, Showko is dressed in a silver lame Yukata (an informal Kimono) with funky new silver sandal shoes bought in Japan recently and has many tales to impart. Some of her standup material is about cultural differences but most of it comes out of personal stories and experiences, such as going back to Japan and realising that she’s become more Australian.

There’s a lot packed into Absolutely Normal, but it has a carefully thought out structure that eases the audience into Showko’s wacky world. She introduces us to herself with some standup that is fairly conventional though no less fascinating about experiences with Japanese and Australian toilets. Then she wows us with her ventriloquist comedy before moving on to teach us about the traditional Japanese style of comedy called Rakugo. It is similar to storytelling standup except is it is sitdown comedy. She demonstrated with a surreal story about a cherry tree with gorgeous props,  gestures and the audience’s imagination. Finally some more ventriloquism with Sushi Master and a bit of harmless audience participation.

Absolutely Normal is, of course, anything but normal but in a most wonderful and hilarious way. Take your friends for a delightfully offbeat night out.

Showko is on at The Coopers Malthouse at 6.45 til April 22

5 Good Reasons to see Hell by Showko

1. Surreal Love Comedy

2. Quirky Ventriloquist puppets

3. Gorgeous Costumes

4. Based on a traditional Japanese Rakugo story but a modern twist

5. Sit-down tragic comedy

Showko performs Hell (Adults 16+)  April 13 -19 at 8.30pm

5 Good Reasons to see Ninja Ken & Sushi Monster by Showko

1. Ninja Ken is super funny and naughty

2.The Sushi Monster wants to eat you

3. Engages the imagination

4. Positive uplifting comedy

5. A fun creative experience

Showko performs Ninja Ken & Sushi Monster (for kids 6 – 12) til April 12th Tue-Sun 12.15pm at Melbourne Town Hall