The Independent Project presents: The Last 25 – Edinburgh Castle Hotel – 5K

The Independent ProjectBy Olivia Henry

The Independent Project presents: The Last 25 is the final instalment of an epic trilogy featuring music throughout the decades. This year, The Independent Project played the greatest hits from the last 25 years, and as a 24 year-old, I was delighted to find that I knew – literally – EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. on their list.

 

Before I go any further, I need to mention that I know these guys. The bass player is a good friend of mine, and I had to keep in mind that my review needed to be honest and unbiased. However, I overheard three people say they now want this band to play at their wedding. Another few people grabbed me to ask me if they could come to future shows and thanked me repeatedly for inviting them along; and after sending an initial review to a third party who also went to the show, I was told I wasn’t being passionate enough and that I didn’t need to hold back from giving them the praise they deserve. So here we go.

 

The Independent Project is a 4 piece band with witty, down to earth guys who also happen to be bursting with talent. The brilliant drummer, Chris Neale, sang One Week by Barenaked Ladies (while drumming!?!!) without missing a beat and left the audience speechless. Hilarious bass player, Laurence May, kept the banter alive between songs and ensured even the safety announcements made the audience giggle. Infinitely cool pianist/guitarist, Julian Opie, jumped into the crowd, much to the excitement of the girls around him; and the incredibly versatile lead singer/guitarist, Max Garcia-Underwood, nailed everything from gangster rap to Taylor Swift.

 

With great music, dancing, and a lot of laughs, this show has a bit of everything. And thankfully, the covers aren’t lame or cheesy, either. Whether they’re mashing John Mayer with Ed Sheeran or expertly juggling the audience participation from Outkast’s Hey Ya and Timberlake’s Senorita, they make performing look like another Friday night jam sesh. Having just returned from a cruise where an experienced, 7-piece band supported by a backing track didn’t impress me, I was surprised at what a 4-piece could do. This band is tight.

 

The Last 25 show is finished for now, but keep an eye on this band, because judging from previous years, their shows will only get better.

 

5K

 

Check out their Facebook page for future shows and bookings.

Dave Thornton – So On and So Forth – Studio 7 – The Garden of Unearthly Delights – 4K

By Olivia Henry

 

You may recognise Dave Thornton from ABC’s Upper Middle Bogan or Comedy Channel’s Just for Laughs Stand-Up series. Although this is an impressive resume, I knew for sure I would enjoy the show when I approached the box office to pick up my tickets, the lady serving me exclaimed, “oooh!” as she printed them out.

 

Melbourne-based Thornton is an animated, true-blue Aussie bloke. In his new show, “So On and So Forth,” he strolls onto the stage and immediately starts chatting to the audience. While this is not unusual for stand-up comedy, Thornton’s ability to engage with the audience, combined with his ability to tell a good ol’ yarn makes performer-audience banter that much more entertaining.

 

The “Thorn-diggity” covers a number of topics, including his recent 10-day vow of silence, disciplining kids and being heckled in public. His tone is genuine and down-to-earth, which makes it feel a little like your best friend is telling you a series of hilarious stories for an hour.

 

Thornton is a cheeky guy with a knack for storytelling, and would probably be the life of the party when he’s not on stage. While the Fringe is wrapping up, you can catch him for one more show, tonight at 7PM.

 

4K

To grab last minute tickets, click here

Fringe 2016 Dani Cabs: Poncho Orange – 3.5K

Poncho Orange was a show of firsts. Never before have I had a fringe performer feed me part of a (delicious) mango, nor had I had my face painted, nor joined an entire audience in an orchestrated conga.

Dani Cabs creates a hilarious on stage persona for this show, drawing the audience in with well choreographed musical acts and engaging physical comedy. There is very little use of language, but Cabs uses this to his advantage. Minimalist vocal humour complimented by clownish stunts makes up the majority of the show.

This show builds to a hilarious crescendo involving the entire audience. However the earlier skits struggle at times to fully engage the audience. Many of the jokes received ample support, but a few need either an audience more likely to participate or to be further refined.

This is an artist who knows comedy and has a well rounded show, some of the sketches are foot stompingly funny, but they need an audience willing to get on board.

 

3.5K

Fringe 2016 – Unplotted Potter – 4.5K

By Julia Cudsi

A Scriptease offering for the 2016 Fringe, Unplotted Potter follows the trend of a fully improvised, hour-long show. The premise of this performance is to select at random three names of obscure characters from the Harry Potter stories, let the audience pick one and then tell that character’s story in a completely improvised play.

Now, full disclosure – this reviewer is not a Harry Potter fan. And yes, I know what you’re thinking – I was pretty much the only person in the entire Tandanya Theatre who felt that way. But despite this obviously glaring hole in my literary tastes, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of what was a hilarious show.

Under the spotlight on Wednesday night was Viktor Krumm, a Bulgarian wizard who travelled to Hogwarts to participate in the Quidditch Cup (yes, I had to Google that). Under the direction of the Scriptease team, he pined madly for Hermione, decamped to the Northern English Quidditch team (as oopposed to the Central England team, of course), and eventually found his place amongst the house elves.

Always impressive, the improv model really shows the versatility of the actors and their ability to think on their feet. Despite having no script whatsoever, last night’s performance of Unplotted Potter was seamlessly entertaining, absolutely hilarious and thoroughly engaging.

If I had the time, I would go every night to see each different show.

4.5K

FRINGE 2016: Half Hour Hamlet – 4K

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By Amy Nancarrow.

Ever been to or read a Shakespeare play and had absolutely no idea what’s going on?

Comedian Patrick Hercamp felt it was time that Shakespeare was accessible to the masses, and so Half Hour Hamlet was born. You guessed it: it’s Shakespeare’s famous play wrapped up in half an hour, complete with Hercamp playing all of the characters. Full of energy, Hercamp gets the audience involved with whooping and cheering, sound effects for the death of a character, and so much energy that it’s hard to not get sucked in to the Bard’s story.

Set in the fantastic Producers Hotel Garden venue, Half Hour Hamlet is a great show for people of all ages, and both the Shakespeare buffs and novices alike. Hercamp’s Shakespearean background and comedic flair (developed through his work with comedy troupe Sound and Fury) are the perfect combination for this entertaining show. Hercamp manages to distill Hamlet down to its essential elements, and encourages the audience to go on and read the play or see a production. Whilst a comedy, there’s a sense that Hercamp really loves the play, and it has a distinct reverence for the Bard.

If you’re looking for a show that is genuinely entertaining for everyone, Half Hour Hamlet is the perfect choice.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

FRINGE 2016 – Get Around Me – Gillian English – 2.5K

By Peter Maddern

Canadian Gillian English cuts a formidable figure as she strides the Bally stage at Gluttony in her Canadian AFL guernsey. The first two thirds of her show is good fun focused as it is on her journey into AFL, starting off with the need to fit in and get a job at an Australian mining company in Toronto and finishing (at least as to its upward progression) in Melbourne representing her country at the AFL World Games in 2014.

If anyone who has been brought up on the game ever takes a step back they can quickly appreciate how Aussie Rules is such an odd thing for those who haven’t. Just handling the ball, especially bouncing it, is quite counter intuitive and its no off-side convention makes it almost unique in out-door sports.

As one who once struggled to get AFL recognised in the US, it was fun to revisit all those aspects of the game North Americans (at least) find attractive and / or intriguing about it. At the core of those is the fact that it is a game that, almost uniquely, people of all shapes and sizes can play, especially at the sub professional level – the speedy, slight wingster, the plodding back pocket, the less than intelligent lumbering ruckman to name just a few.

That women are now making such a mark on its ranks in this context comes then as no surprise and a welcome addition to its history and lore.

The last third of Get Around Me then took a 90 degree turn which was rather more problematic and I fully expect opinion to divide on its merits. In this English recounted an episode of sexual assault on her at an after party for the World Games by a fellow countryman. The issue of sexual assault is important and of course a worthy topic for a Fringe show but having detailed that ‘justice was done’ by Vic Police, English continued her grievances that for this reviewer took the show beyond entertaining theatre to an unhappiness.

But, as I say, I fully expect opinion will divide on this portion of the show.

Kryztoff Rating 2.5K

FRINGE 2016 – Comedy – Blake Freeman – Pieces of a Kid – 3K

By Peter Maddern

I first encountered Melbournian Blake Freeman standing in the mid evening, mid week drizzle outside Gluttony, a place where his orbit for flyering now stretched from his moon at The Producers.

There and then one could only be struck with his persuasive personality emboldened under a mop of dark hair and a fulsome smile. From that point last night it seemed I couldn’t evade the menace and so, more than an hour later, I am in the The Producers witnessing his show having been coerced by him and his rash of small flyers up the stairs to the cramped room therein.

Twenty year old comedians are apt to disappoint and it may well have been that the funniest part of the show was the presence of a microphone and massive speaker for a room not much bigger than a disabled toilet. But Blake had it worked out that these trappings were unnecessary and his force-of-nature style would be more amplification than this space would need.

His show, Pieces of a Kid, is well named. His stories centred on being in love and fumbling around single before that occurred, his missing father and then his worst gig to date, which for me was the stand out section of the show. Not much perhaps to hang a glowing review on to be sure.

But the kid has a presence, a talent, a jig and a wit that carries three quarters of an hour effortlessly. I remember seeing Amos Gill stammering around at a similar age a few years back and look where he is now – hosting radio and giving people nightmares with his huge head on the sides of buses.

Blake Freeman is going somewhere similar too; born or diseased with that comedian’s DNA of needing to prove oneself to oneself through pleasing others. But unlike most others his age, Freeman can truly make you smile.

If you want to see a next big thing at this Fringe Blake Freeman may well be it. Once the pieces of this kid are put together, something great it seems certain is going to emerge.

Fringe 2016 – Exposing Edith – Spiegeltent – Garden of Unearthly Delights – Rating 5K – Review by Julie Robins

By Julie Robins

On a balmy Monday night in the Garden we were transported to 1930s Paris and the world of Edith Piaf.  The Spiegeltent was the packed out venue for the Fringe finale of Exposing Edith.  Presented by the talented raconteur and chanteuse Michaela Burger, and beautifully accompanied by Greg Wain on guitar and occasional vocals, this cabaret show focussed on Piaf’s life from around the age of twenty.  (With a wonderful one minute musical intro which covered her childhood).

Michaela slipped effortlessly in and out of character, from a very convincing Edith, to the girl from Coober Pedy who became obsessed with Piaf when she was studying in France many years ago, and back again. Utilising a mix of storytelling and musical classics, as well as lesser known works, she took us on an emotional ride through Piaf’s loves and heartbreaks, career highs and lows, ilnesses and injuries.  It was a brilliant portrayal of her vulnerability, feistiness, strength and passion.  Greg Wain’s gentle vocals, particularly on the lovely duet of Autumn Leaves, and expert guitar playing complement her powerful, feisty, emotional voice.

The initially restrained audience were soon drawn into exuberant applause, laughter, cheering, and sighing.  Fans of Edith Piaf should certainly enjoy every aspect of this show.  Those who have never heard of her will be enthused to hear more.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

Fringe 2016: Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World – Le Cascadeur – The Garden of Unearthly Delights – 3.5K

By Olivia Henry

 

Upon walking into Le Cascadeur, the audience is met with a colourful pile of rubbish, and a pair of long, stiletto-clad legs protruding from a trash can.

 

What follows is a very odd, one-woman cabaret adventure to save the world. Betty Grumble is a self-described surreal showgirl and obscene beauty queen. It is easy to see why such unusual adjectives are combined to describe Grumble: her choreography says “my body is beautiful and sensual,” while her facial expressions say “I will eat you alive.” Her music says “disco party,” while her underlying message says “the world is dying.”

 

Betty Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World is a surprisingly deep and artistic piece with a powerful message. For some people, this might be a little heavy for a Friday night. Others might enjoy the show for what it is: a quirky, messy, burlesque/cabaret show.

 

So head down to the Garden Of Unearthly Delights and get ready for full frontal nudity, rainbow poop and a night of questioning whether you’re actually in some super weird dream.

 

3.5K

 

For tickets and show times, click here.

FRINGE 2016: THEATRE – The Ballad of Frank Allen – Tuxedo Cat – 5K

Frank Allen (Shane Adamczak), polite and amiable janitor, is paying less than adequate attention at work one night and manages to accidentally shrink himself. Somehow (Frank’s not really sure how, so neither are we) he ends up in the beard of Al (St John Cowcher), a minion at the dodgy burger joint next door, whose only constant in life seems to be his crush on the girl who works at the bakery across the road. What ensues is one of the most original and entertaining buddy-comedies you’re ever likely to have the opportunity to see.

For such a bizarre concept, the play actually works incredibly well, structurally. The two performers bounce off one another, ensuring the pace is snappy and the transitions from inside to outside the beard are smooth. Even when the two worlds collide it is clear what is going on, due in no small part to the excellent physicality of the performers. When they take on additional characters in the story, differentiation between each is easily achieved with the addition of simple props and a great variety of accents.

As might be expected from the title, there are several songs peppered throughout the show. They are both humorous and musically pleasing; Adamczak’s and Cowcher’s voices complement each other well. It’s a very self-aware show, with several direct references to the growth of the characters and the transitional nature of their relationship; this just adds to the amusement while still allowing those more emotional aspects to be included without things getting sappy.

The Ballad of Frank Allen will leave you with several unanswered questions (not least of which is, if you were to spell bakery with a z, where would you put it? – I’ve settled on bzakery), but it’s a show about a man living in another man’s beard, so it was never going to be straightforward. My advice is to sit back and enjoy the ride, because it is very enjoyable.

Kryztoff rating: 5K