Tag: Sarah Reuben

MICF 2016: The Big Hoo-Haa’s CLIFFHANGER

Perfect com fest fun

By Narelle Wood

For 10pm on a Thursday night the downstairs theatre of The Butterfly Club was fairly busy having gathered to see The Big Hoo-Haa’s Melbourne Comedy Festival show Cliffhanger. I quickly discovered that I was a Big Hoo-Haa novice amongst a sea of regular attendees. The audience was super-enthusiastic and so were the selection of the night’s players.

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The premise for the 60-minute show is 5 improvised stories, each stopped at a cliffhanger moment. Each round a story is eliminated until there is only one story left and the audience are treated to the story’s finale. There is one problem though: there are 6 players on stage, so the elimination begins with a rap battle between the two teams, Hearts and Bones, to see which team will begin with the improvisation advantage.

Silliness and laughter prevail as we were treated to stories of murder with The Tuna Fish Killer, the epic battle between cat and helicopter, a romance found and lost on a scooter, a famous five quest to find a sock and a high-seas adventure with scurvy. While each of the stories was highly entertaining, it was the tale of cat versus helicopter that took out the prize of ultimate cliffhanger. And there was a moral to the story too; cats were never supposed to be friends with anything that flies.

With different stories every performance and the possibility of a number of comedic combinations from the Big Hoo-Haa cast the only guarantee is that the show will be funny. The wit and timing of cast members such as Mark Gambino, Candice D’Arcy, Sarah Reuben and Sophie Kneebone were perfectly complimented by the remarkable musical skill of JJ on the keyboard.

The 60 minutes flew by with clever harmless comedy resulting in lots of guffaws and chuckles of delight. But be warned, exposure to this sort of humour may cause repeat attendance.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne

Season: 10pm Tues, Thurs, Sat until April 16th

Tickets: Full $29

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

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REVIEW: Mockingbird Theatre’s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Steering audiences into daring but dark theatre

By Ross Larkin

Melbourne’s Mockingbird Theatre are fast building a reputation for tackling challenging, confronting and somewhat heavy-handed works – a risk for even the most iconic and established theatre companies to consider.

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It would be reasonable to question whether such a choice were wise in a relatively young collaborative.

Incest, mental illness, homophobia, sex and violence have been the hot subject matters of late for Mockingbird; the mere suggestion of which would drive the less brave to contemplate a Wizard of Oz remake.

An astonishing relief, therefore, to not only feel comfortable Mockingbird can pull it off, but to know they can, and have, knocked it out of the park.

How I Learned to Drive, by American playwright Paula Vogel, is arguably the closest to the bone Mockingbird have ventured to conquer thus far. The 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning script, examines perhaps the heaviest and most controversial of issues imaginable. Pedophilia.

Not a subject many of us care to discuss, let alone be subjected to head on in theatrical format. However, herein lies the success of the play. It delicately and subtly unpacks the story of a teenage girl, affectionately referred to as Lil’Bit, growing up in Maryland, during which time, her uncle Peck teaches her to drive.

Some of the most poignant moments of the play evolve from the insinuating language, as Uncle Peck warns her of the dangerous drivers on the road, and how to defend herself as a driver. Truth be told, the real monster is right beside her in the vehicle, grooming and brain-washing, to later take advantage of her in various calculated ways.

While her Aunty insists Lil’Bit “knows exactly what she is doing”, and cries about wanting “her husband back”, How I Learned to Drive becomes Lil’Bit’s struggle to defend herself against, not only her predator, but the scorning, victim-bashing tongues of the time.

Sarah Reuben is exceptional as Lil’Bit, portraying innocence and fear with a believability that moves and disturbs, while the equally engaging and nuanced performance by Jason Cavanagh as Peck, will send tingles down your spine.

Meanwhile, viewers battle between hatred and pity over such an unhinged, yet somehow frail character as Peck, who is, apparently oblivious to the horror of preying on the teenage girl he claims to love.

A remarkable supporting cast, and the usual firm direction from Chris Baldock, makes How I Learned to Drive another proud notch in the Mockingbird belt, and one certainly not to be missed.

How I Learned to Drive is playing now at the Mechanics Institute in Brunswick, Tuesdays to Saturdays 8pm from May 3 – 18, 2013. Bookings via Trybooking.com or bookings@mockingbirdtheatre.com.au