Tag: Forum Theatre

Melbourne Festival 2017: THE WRAP WITH TAYLOR MAC

A glorious festival finale

By Bradley Storer

After finishing the rapturously received 24 Decades of Popular Music in America for this year’s Melbourne Festival, Taylor Mac returned to preside over the closing of the festival. From the very start, as Mac entered from the rear of the Forum Theatre and crowd-surfed over the people gathered at the front of the stage, an uninhibited party atmosphere prevailed. Mac (who uses the gender pronoun ‘judy’) was casually charismatic and commanding, describing the event as a collection of the queerest moments from the full 24 Decade show and with the aid of musical director Matt Ray and a small collection of musicians from the show judy certainly delivered!

TaylorMac the Wrap.jpg

The hyper masculinity of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ was used as the back drop to a clandestine gay romance, the Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ (aided by the magnificent vocals of guest singers Steffanie Christi’an Mosley and Thornetta Davis) soundtracked the bus ride towards the Bayard Rustin march. Mac enlisted the audience to help re-enact the funeral procession of Judy Garland to the tune of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ before the explosion of the Stonewall Riots in the Rolling Stones ‘Gimme Shelter’. The climax of the evening came in a spontaneous rendition of Prince’s make-out classic ‘Purple Rain’ where the division between audience and performers was broken down by what felt like sheer Dionysian joy, with tears and singing along in equal measure – as well as an incredible guitar solo from guitarist extraordinaire Viva DeConcini. The audience was then asked to dance with someone of the same gender (or for non-binary people, anyone of their choice) as Mac and Ray transformed a homophobic Ted Nugent song into a gorgeous slow dance at a gay junior prom, a beautiful and poignant ending to the high-octane evening.

The best was saved for last, with a song not from Mac’s 24 Decade show, as judy encored with a camptastic cover of Olivia Newton John’s ‘Xanadu’ as a tribute to the Australian audience, complete with mirror ball and costume designer Machine Dazzle back up dancing dressed as a disco butterfly. The crowd roared and begged for more, and the feeling of sad acceptance as Mac exited the stage was palpable: the sensation of waking from a wonderful dream and having to return to the real world.

A delicious and satisfying ending to a triumphant season at the Melbourne Festival, and we can only wait in anticipation for what the festival will bring next year!

Date: 22nd October, 2017

Time: 7pm

Venue: Forum Theatre, Flinders St & Russel St, Melbourne VIC 3000

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MICF 2016: Corey White in THE CANE TOAD EFFECT

Bringing remarkable laughs from dark places

By Christine Young

There’s a winsome innocence and softness in the expression on Corey White’s face in the promotional photo for The Cane Toad Effect. White’s innocence and trust were torn away from him multiple times as a child but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour or his soft edge. He is fresh-faced and positive for someone who has every reason to be bitter and jaded.

Corey White.jpg

The premise of The Cane Toad Effect is that, like the introduction of cane toads to far north Queensland, there have been unintended consequences of his upbringing. White talks about his childhood with a Dad who’s a violent criminal; a Mum who’s addicted to heroin; and being abused while living with a foster family. That’s not even the half of it.
Sounds like a real laugh-a-minute, doesn’t it? It actually is.

White maintains a steady balance between the shades of dark and light in his material. He gets it. People are there to laugh and he manages to find the humorous side in situations that are otherwise inherently sad and awful.

White has created a well thought-out and structured show that plays for laughs but also has some sombre moments. There was one moment where I had tears in my eyes and then seconds later I was giggling again.

There is great skill in being able to tell stories with just the right amount of pathos and humour. White’s honesty is refreshing and gives his stories depth and substance.
Sometimes the humour is quite dark. However, in such a dense show, there were only a couple of punchlines that were received with silence.

White’s show offers an important insight into the state of state care and the ongoing physical and mental consequences of childhood neglect and trauma.

And amazingly  it still delivers lots of laughs.

Where: Forum Theatre (downstairs), Corner of Russell and Flinders Streets, Melbourne

When: Until Sat. 16 April at 7pm; final show at 6pm on Sunday 17 April

Tickets: $20-$30 www.comedyfestival.com.au or Ticketmaster 1300 660 013

MICF 2016: Rose Callaghan’s ROSE BEFORE HOES

Immensely likable and definitely laughable comedy

By Caitlin McGrane

After sell-out shows at the Perth Fringe Festival, Rose Callaghan brings her frenetically energetic show Rose Before Hoes to her home city of Melbourne. Previously called Attention Deficit… Ooh a Pony!, the show is about Callaghan being diagnosed with ADHD last year, and her dating experiences as a single women in her 30s.

Rose Before Hoes

Callaghan is wonderfully likeable and her visible nervousness only made her more so. I found the show refreshingly discursive, which was aided by the impossibly small venue meaning Callaghan could authentically react and interact with the audience. A couple of lines landed poorly and Callaghan skilfully admitted they were ‘bad jokes’ and moved on. I just really hope Callaghan’s mum and her friends come every night so other audiences get to see her interacting with them, because it was a true highlight.

The only moments when Callaghan looked uncomfortable or unsure were when she was talking about her ADHD diagnosis. As with Hannah Gadsby last year, it was fist-punching-the-air brilliant to hear a woman talking about disability and mental illness with a poignant sense of humour. However, Callaghan’s material didn’t seem to be as sharp as her dating material, of which I could have easily watched another hour. It seemed as though Callaghan was reluctant to rely too heavily on stereotypes and stock jokes about ADHD, which was certainly appreciated, but the jokes just weren’t as tight or witty as they could perhaps have been.

As a single young woman, I am no stranger to the horrors of online dating, so the second half of the show really resonated. Callaghan seemed more comfortable in this territory, and she really started to shine when she spoke about the wildly inappropriate yet also downright lazy efforts men go to to lure you into bed. Any woman who’s been on Tinder for more than ten minutes is liable to get whiplash from nodding her head so much.

Comedy is a real boys’ club, and seeing Callaghan on stage demonstrated that the tide is turning towards real, honest female comedy that isn’t either aiming to please everyone or willing to be silent about issues that really affect women, which can only be a good thing.

Rose Before Hoes is showing at 6pm at the Forum Theatre’s Carpet Room until 17 April 2016. Tickets here: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/rose-before-hoes-rose-callaghan

REVIEW: Madeleine Tucker has OLYMPIK PHEVER

Giving comedy a sporting chance

By Myron My

Presenting at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival is Madeleine Tucker’s Olympik Phever. In this, Madeleine is given her big chance of filling in as a late-night presenter for an Olympic Games TV special.

The show starts off well: Tucker’s “flags of the world” jeans were an amusing thought and her “jeans of the world” flag was then a nice touch.

Olympik Phever

Her initial song, “Race to the Race”, whilst a little repetitive was enjoyable enough but didn’t really get the laughs and therefore failed to hit the right mark. It is Tucker’s live sugar dispenser commercial that is the absolute highlight of this unfortunately otherwise lack-lustre show. Everyone was in stitches over this section and it’s a shame the rest of Olympik Phever didn’t deliver such strong reactions.

The set design was fairly impressive with Tucker performing her show from inside a giant television set. Clearly, much time and effort had gone into creating this. Her creative and detailed costumes, such as the sugar dispenser and her toast outfit, did not go unnoticed or unappreciated either.

To her credit, Tucker keeps the energy high and solders on even when some of the jokes fail to get the laughs – her Olympic flame in the mail segment being one of them. I’m not sure how much this show has changed since its debut at the Melbourne International Fringe Festival last year but it seems some refinement to the material is definitely needed. Tucker seems to whizz through a lot of material but perhaps focusing more on what obviously works with her attendees and using that would make Olympik Phever more audience-friendly.

I like to go in with an open mind and not have too many expectations when I go and see a new show. I’m not a fan of the Olympic Games and I have not watched them since 1992. I happily took a chance on Olympik Phever because I thought it would be an irreverent look at the event. It wasn’t, but this isn’t why I didn’t warm to it: it comes down to the material and unfortunately this show doesn’t go for comedy gold.

Venue: Forum Theatre, Cnr. Flinders and Russell Sts

Season: Until 21 April | Tues-Sat 6:00pm, Sun 5:00pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au, 1300 660 013 & at the door