ADELAIDE FRINGE 2013 – Desperately Seeking The Exit – Peter Michael Mario – The Austral


Have you ever seen the 1985 classic Desperately Seeking Susan, where Rosanna Arquette loses her memory and takes on the identity of Madonna as a street-hustler on the run from the Mob? If not, you should, but if not imagine if this wacky 80s dramady were to be remade as a musical, but set in 1979, and replace the trashy pop glamour of Madonna with the rock and roll sex and bravado of Blondie.

This is the premise of Desperately Seeking The Exit, a rock and roll 70s-80s mash-up musical borne from the incredibly stoned and drunk mind of Peter Michael Marino; director, writer, actor, comedy coach; self-professed angloholic, borderline alcoholic; raging queen and hyperactive creative genius. The project even gets the approval of Debbie Harrie and Madonna themselves! AND IT’S ALL TRUE!

Unfortunately for Peter Michael Marino this is where the fairytale ends, as his show is set to play out of the West End and his baby is seized by lunatic British choreographers, directors, producers, actors and financiers. This is the Desperately Seeking The Exit, as Peter Michael Marino works through the demons of a hellish year in the UK. He drinks and jokes and yells and is a one man laugh riot. At one point I wrote in my note book the words “Gay? or just Really Camp/Hyperactive?”, later on putting a big tick next to both of them. Peter Michael Mario is fucking brilliant.

Despite being wedged into a tiny room up at the very top of The Austral, Desperately Seeking The Exit is one of the funniest Fringe shows, nay, comedy shows I have ever seen. Why was this amazing show tucked away so? It’s a shame. I didn’t even know who Peter Michael Marion is, or what Desperately Seeking Susan was, but I have and do now, and my life is all the richer for it. I learned a lot of colourful phrases that just aren’t fit for print alas, but will no doubt serve me well later on in life.

Desperately Seeking The Exit is a hilarious, vulgar, crass and (eventually) heart-warming story that anyone with a rough sense of humour really ought to see. Desperately Seeking Susan is also a brilliant film which you really should see as well. Listed to some Blondie and some 80s Madonna too.


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