REVIEW: The Giraffe’s Uncle at LA MAMA

Local Aussie theatre at its best

By Tania Herbert

For those who came of age in Carlton, a return to La Mama Theatre is like coming home. And what better to come home to than a good old Aussie yarn. The Giraffe’s Uncle is the story of Sydney writer Les Robinson, a self-proclaimed  “cave-dwelling fantasist” who stumbles through the 20s to the 60s in the Sydney fringes.

Photo by Cynthia Sciberras

Well in command of this one-man show, Martin Portus’ background as a former Radio National arts broadcaster places him in good stead. His impressive command of voice really does capture an old school spirit and you could have happily close your eyes and feel that you were listening to an old-time Australian radio serial.

Although clearly portraying a very colourful Australian character– who is, in his own words ,”basking in a sense of the florid”- Portus’ performance is somewhat lacking in naturalism, and is choreographed down to every gesture.

The Giraffe's Uncle

However, this is certainly part of the reason this was a strong execution of an entertaining piece of theatre.  The show is punctuated with historic projections and chuckle worthy snippets of letters from Les’ life. Singer Darryl Emmerson also steps in to give us a couple of good old Aussie folk tunes that will leave you feeling like you’ve just had a beer with your granddad.

Very approachable, very Australian, and just very La Mama this is indeed a show which is, as Les found himself amusingly described, “not without a mild form of talent.”

Dates: January 31 – February 10, Wed, Fri, Sun 8.30pm, Thur, Sat 6.30pm

Venue: La Mama Theatre, Level 1, 205 Faraday St Carlton

Tickets: $25 full/ $15 conc, online at or 03 9347 6142