Celia Pacquola: Delayed @ Melbourne Town Hall

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2012

In 2010 Celia Pacquola left her home town of Melbourne and moved to London in pursuit of self-transformation, thinking that living overseas (in an English-speaking country full of Australians) would change her. Delayed is the product of that experience. Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Delayed is a study of the human condition. Unlike Shakespeare, Pacquola delves into such universal themes as our relationship to toilet paper, seeing someone accidentally punch a stranger in the face, and faking marriage proposals on the Eiffel Tower.

You might know Pacquola as Roo McVie’s cool/weird best friend and housemate EJ in ABC TV’s Laid, and the character and the performer have a lot in common (not surprising since many of her lines in Laid were ad-libbed). Both openly report the deeply odd thoughts and compulsions that flit through their brains. But Pacquola the stand up comedian is far more animated, using her great skill for dork dancing and gestural expression to wonderful comedic effect. The girl is gangly. Continue reading “Celia Pacquola: Delayed @ Melbourne Town Hall”

Interview with Tim Fitzhigham

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2012

Tim Fitzhigham is the best kind of Englishman – the kind that is acutely eccentric and unfailingly polite. The gentleman adventurer slash comedian has a string of delightfully archaic titles and honours to his name – Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; Freeman of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames; Pittancer of Selby Town in the West Riding, North Yorkshire; and Freeman of the City of London, which gives him the right to drive a sheep over the London Bridge (with a stick, I mean, not in a car. Presumably anyone can do that). He’s had a toilet named in his honour and rescues chickens from battery farms and rare spaniels from extinction.

Each of his comedy shows to date have revolved around some outlandish feat or another – rowing a paper boat down the River Thames; rowing a bathtub across the English Channel; Morris dancing for nearly 200 miles. This year, in his first Australian show, Fitzhigham presents Gambler, in which he recreates ten absurd bets from history’s footnotes.

He found the bets in gambling books from gentlemen’s clubs in the 18th century. “The bets in these books are absolutely phenomenal,” he enthuses. “One of them says a lord bets another lord that a third lord will vomit into the hat of a fourth lord. And then underneath someone’s written: I lost.” Continue reading “Interview with Tim Fitzhigham”

Andrew O’Neill: Alternative @ Pony

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2012

For a guy who doesn’t believe in God, Andrew O’Neill really knows how to invoke a bit of evil. His stand-up routine is friendly enough, full of gentle jokes about spiders in the swimming pool and the odd Cockney music hall song. But it’s studded with unsettling micro-stories about men with crab claws for hands, delivered in menacing asides to singled-out audience members. Then there’s his penchant for spinning out a joke until he finds the very limits of funny, such as miming the writing, enveloping, addressing, stamping and posting of a letter from start to finish, or mapping out a diet plan in which one eats foods in alphabetical order, all the way from A to Z. A different kind of evil. Continue reading “Andrew O’Neill: Alternative @ Pony”

Felicity Ward in The Hedgehog Dilemma @ Victoria Hotel – Vic’s Bar

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2012

Poor hedgehogs. They want to cuddle up to each other during the cold winter months, but the threat of injury prevents them from getting close. And so it often is with humans – we crave intimacy but there’s always a strong chance that someone could lose an eye. In 2006 Felicity Ward had a close encounter with a wedding that was cancelled at the last minute by the venue, prompting her to reassess her eight year relationship and realise that she wanted out. The Hedgehog Dilemma is about the years following that event, in which Ward confronted loneliness, learning to date again, and a prickly case of alcoholism. Continue reading “Felicity Ward in The Hedgehog Dilemma @ Victoria Hotel – Vic’s Bar”

Christina Adams and Penny Tangey – Chalk and Talk: Lessons from the Classroom @ Three Degrees

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, March 2012

After debuting the show at last year’s Fringe, secondary teacher Christina Adams and dedicated lifelong learner Penny Tangey are back again with another term of Chalk and Talk. Life as a teacher gets an honest assessment as the two pick apart staff meetings, photocopier wars and students who try to exit rooms through the windows.

While there are laughs to be had for anyone who’s ever set foot in a school (hopefully all of us except for those weird home-schooled kids) the show is aimed pretty squarely at members of the teaching profession. Concession tickets are available to VIT card holders (as in professional registration body, the Victorian Institute of Teaching) and they seemed to be out in force on opening night. Their laughs of recognition and solidarity helped cement the relationship between the performers and the audience, making for a lovely community vibe. Continue reading “Christina Adams and Penny Tangey – Chalk and Talk: Lessons from the Classroom @ Three Degrees”

THEATRE REVIEW: A Golem Story @ Malthouse Theatre

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, June 2011

The latest tale to flow from the pen of zeitgeisty Melbourne playwright Lally Katz, A Golem Story, is an ambitious and compelling take on an old Jewish legend. It’s 1580 and the Jews of the Prague ghetto are being persecuted by Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor. In order to protect his community, the Rabbi creates a golem – a fearsome being made of mud – to take on the Roman soldiers. After his soldiers are frightened away the Emperor strikes a deal with the Rabbi to destroy the golem in exchange for safety, but it is too late as the Rabbi discovers his creation has broken free of his control. Continue reading “THEATRE REVIEW: A Golem Story @ Malthouse Theatre”

THEATRE REVIEW: Moth @ Malthouse Theatre

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, June 2011

Produced in conjunction with the youth-oriented Arena Theatre Company, Moth is a play with a message. ‘Moth deals with a range of issues concerning mental health’, the program reads. ‘Here are some resources if you need someone to talk to’. Touching on depression, isolation, schizophrenia, and bullying in the age of the phone camera and Facebook, it has all the hallmarks of yet another clichéd story about emerging triumphant from a troubled adolescence. But Moth is in fact something far more intriguing – and devastating. Continue reading “THEATRE REVIEW: Moth @ Malthouse Theatre”

RHUM Loves Brenna Courtney Glazebrook: OC/DC @ MICF 2011

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2011

The other week I gave Fiona O’Loughlin a five star chuckle factor for her show about her battles with alcoholism. Well, Fiona, you might have to shove over on the comedy therapist’s couch because Brenna Courtney Glazebrook’s OC/DC, which dives into life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is fucking outstanding. Continue reading “RHUM Loves Brenna Courtney Glazebrook: OC/DC @ MICF 2011”

RHUM Loves Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour @ MICF 2011

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2011

Over the past four years Ben McKenzie’s Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour has become a fixture of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It’s a bit of an oddity, typically getting only average media reviews but frequently selling out nonetheless. It’s not exactly uproariously funny but it is a lot of fun – something about wandering around the museum after hours, treating the exhibits with irreverence rather than solemnity, is kind of appealing. Continue reading “RHUM Loves Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour @ MICF 2011”

RHUM Loves Headliners (line up #2) @ MICF 2011

RHUM logoPublished on RHUM.org.au, April 2011

I went to the doctor the other day and ended up having to do a pee test unexpectedly. Being a bit dehydrated I had a bit of trouble, erm, getting into the flow of things. It’s too bad the comedians from the second round of Headliners weren’t there with me – they would have had me weeing myself in no time.

Marina Franklin, by her own admission, is ‘not a high-energy act’. ‘I’m like the Ella Fitzgerald of comedy,’ she says. ‘If I could tell a joke and then nod off, I would.’ Her chillaxed delivery and smutty material hits the spot but she seems a bit unnerved by the audience’s equally laid-back response. It’s okay, Marina, we were with you all the way! Continue reading “RHUM Loves Headliners (line up #2) @ MICF 2011”