Promising cabaret just needs a little tidying

By Christine Moffat

Crap I Found In My Room is a cabaret about a young man leaving home: or more precisely, a young man being asked nicely by his parents to move out.  Writer/performer Nick Hedger presents an idea that seems to be a very personal story, but gives it a wide appeal.  Many people have lived through the slightly traumatic move from childhood home into ‘the world’ – or have at least considered it…

Crap I Found In My RoomHedger has transformed the small theatre at The Butterfly Club into (this reviewer guesses) a stage version of his actual bedroom. The space (including the seats) is strewn with laundry, boxes, laptops etc, plus countless toys.  It looks like Gen-Y beat up Toys’R’Us.

These objects really gave the show a sense of place, but Hedger only interacted with a few objects.  To make ‘his stuff’ and the show’s title more meaningful perhaps he needed to use a few more of them more as props, and not just as set pieces.  The same feeling may have been achieved by having a few less objects visible and using more packing boxes: pulling things out of boxes suggests volume, without creating audience expectations that visible props be used.

However, a great moment of meaningful use of props was a funny segment involving a Magic 8 ball.  Hedger’s interaction with the audience and the Magic 8 ball really worked because cabaret is essentially about connection, and Hedger gave the audience something immediate and unique.

The writing is a great strength of this show. It is written as a combination of universal experience and personal testimony.  However, for this reviewer, overall the script feels a bit too obvious.  The mood changes and corresponding tone of songs are too defined when moving through a fairly straightforward narrative.  Mixing upbeat and sombre songs more elegantly and breaking out of the predictable flow would have given the finale a nice sense of discovery and surprise, as the finish felt a little soft and unresolved.  That being said, Hedger did still close the show with pathos and depth, suggesting real growth in his character.

Hedger has a great voice and in such a small venue can safely throw away his microphone.  Some of the songs involved rather too much prior music-theatre knowledge to truly get the jokes, but Hedger’s original songs and some of his pop interpretations were fabulous.  This show has a great premise, and Hedger has an engaging stage presence.  If you aren’t currently trying to gently shuck your own teenager from their room like an oyster from its shell, this show will definitely entertain you.  If you are, it’ll be great therapy!

Aug 1st – 4th, Fri-Sat 9pm / Sun 8pm

The Butterfly Club: Carson Place (just off Little Collins Street in CBD)

A Magnetic Hand production

Directed by Jon Stephens