Tag: 2012 Melbourne Comedy Festival

Review: THE CAUTIONARY TALE OF BARRY VON PEABODY AND THE SCARLET ST THEATRE

It’s the little things in life…

By Adam Tonking

Prepare yourself for an avalanche of cute. The Cautionary Tale of Barry Von Peabody and the Scarlet St Theatre is an epic tale of death and redemption, about a child from Berlin in 1938 who grows up to sacrifice everyone he loves as rebellion against his strict German father. And it’s performed by Jacob Williams’ adorable and tiny little puppets.

The story itself sounds bleak and depressing, but ultimately the story is unimportant, and not even particularly well told. The focus here is the gorgeous puppets, and the artistry of Williams and his tiny little theatre. There is just no end to the detail Williams has put into his show – tiny little red velvet curtains on a tiny little stage with tiny little footlights and gargoyles. And it is damn cute.

The characters are eccentric-looking creatures, and Williams brings them to life through his impressive talent. After all this is an epic tale, covering several decades, different locations, and many different characters. All of this is manipulated by Williams alone: the cast, the set-changes, lighting cues, the special effects – he even manages to involve the audience. It is a monumental feat, and Williams pulls it off brilliantly.

Restricting the audience to fifteen at a time I assume was mainly for the logistics of ensuring everyone could see the tiny little puppets, but it also lent the show a sense of intimacy and comradery, not only with the audience but with the puppets and the puppetmaster as well. The novelty of all this adorableness never grows tiresome, and even stretches to cover any gaps in pacing and storytelling. This is all about the cute characters, adorable staging, and the clever manipulator Williams. Sit back, admire the technical brilliance, and prepare to say “Awwww!” a lot.

The Cautionary Tale of Barry Von Peabody and the Scarlet St Theatre is on at La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053 from Tuesday 10 April till Sunday 22 April, at 6.30pm Tuesday, 8.30pm Wednesday, 9pm Thursday and Friday, and 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Book at www.lamama.com.au or by calling 9347 6142.

Review: WIL ANDERSON is Wilarious

Melbourne Comedy Festival fare at its finest

By Myron My

The first thing I noticed when Wil Anderson came on stage to perform his 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Wilarious, were the missing presence of thongs.

I have seen Wil perform five times and each time he has never worn proper shoes. I felt this was going to be a very different show with him standing in front of a room full of people – except for the two empty seats front row center  (their loss) – wearing shoes!

The beauty of Wil is that much of what he says has probably happened to many people, but it’s stuff that hardly anyone is willing to admit in a public forum. Put your hand up if you would happily (ok, maybe not happily) admit that “someone once fell asleep as I was going down on them”. Didn’t think so. But Wil does. And despite the subject matter, he doesn’t allow it get into crass territory, a trap into which so many others fall into.

Much of Wilarious does however draw on current issues and social commentary. There a perfect blend of seriousness and humour in what Wil has to say: from gay marriage rights to teaching kids that life isn’t always fair and not having them believe everyone comes up a winner all the time. There is truthfulness and reality to what Wil is saying and with his unique blend of story-telling and humour, and it makes for some poignant moments too – followed by fits of laughter.

Wil tells us that his mantra in life is that if you hear something negative, turn it into a positive. Sadly, it cannot be done in this circumstance as Wil is in top form delivering the right amount of laughs with the right amount of thinking and intellect. Wilarious met and exceeded expectations, reminding me why Wil Anderson is still considered as one of the best Australian stand-up comedians today.

VENUE
The Comedy Theatre
Cnr Exhibition & Lonsdale Sts, Melbourne
DATES
28 March – 15 April
TIMES
29 Mar-15 Apr Tue-Sat 8.45pm
Sun 6.15pm
PRICES
Full Sat $40
Full Wed-Fri & Sun $36
Concession $30 (N/A Fri & Sat)
Bookings: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/