Tag: story-telling

Review: PANIC! with Neil Sinclair

Crisis advice has never been so charming

By Myron My

Neil Sinclair’s stand-up show Panic! delves into the British comedian’s personal experience of the riots in London last year.

Sinclair’s recount of seeing roads on fire and people getting dragged from their cars to tales of a looter’s attempts to break into his flat cover much of the “equal parts terrifying and equal parts hilarious” moments he refers to.

Sinclair comes up with three sure-fire way to protect oneself from the looters from his man-made ‘command centre’ in his kitchen flat. Barricade your door with ANYTHING you can get your hands on, dress like a looter and get drunk! His story-telling methods are very relaxed, the flow of which is quite smooth as he includes the before and after effects of the London riots.

Sinclair has some great interaction with the audience, and there are many times when those invisible barriers are let down and it feels like you are just having a chat with a friend.

His lesson on the ‘art of small talk’ to help ease the tension after the riots was a highlight and there is something about the presence of an old school cassette player that I find endearing in any show.

Panic! is littered with pop culture references and only the coolest of the cool will understand them; I managed three. Sinclair has some great word play and some ‘pun-tastic moments’ with his “command centre” twitter feed but even when he makes a few bad ‘dad’ jokes he takes on the failure with a cheeky smile and moves on. This is indicative of Sinclair’s humbleness and his affableness as a performer.

At only 45 minutes, it is quite a short show but this is clearly an example of quality over quantity and Sinclair’s personable nature makes him one to keep an eye out for in the future.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Season: Until 11 November | 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm

Tickets: $15 Full | $10 Concession

Bookings: http://thebutterflyclub.com


Prepare to be enchanted!

By Myron My

I was surprised that I’d never heard of Rakugo theatre prior to this evening (considering I had lived in Japan for two years) so I was quite excited to witness The Butterfly Club hosting the number-one Rakugo performer in Australia, Showko (even if through her own admission, she is the only Rakugo performer in Australia!)

 Rakugo is a 400-year-old traditional form of storytelling involving a lone storyteller using minimal props whilst kneeling on a cushion. Movement, action and characters are all expressed through body language, voice and facial expressions. Remarkably, Showko only utilizes half the small stage of The Butterfly Club but is able to create a world twice as big in our minds.

Showko warms up the crowd so effectively that you don’t even realize the show has begun purely because you are mesmerized by her genuine excitement to be here and sharing with us the magic of storytelling and creation.  There are not many performers who can win over an audience with their opening line being about the joys of heated toilet seats.

In one hour, Showko manages to create an entire Japanese comedy show with puppetry, ventriloquism (and at one point, triple ventriloquism), song, bamboo magic and…monsters. The time and effort that has gone into creating the puppets is evident and Showko works wonders as she manages to bring them all to life with their own distinct personalities. I’m now on the hunt for my very own Cucumber Sushi Monster.

A few minor technical issues with music stopping and lighting changes requested took us out of the world Showko was creating for us, but such was her passion and charm that she drew us right back in.

By the end of the performance, there was not one person (I was watching) walking away without a smile on their face – perhaps Showko had really got everyone in touch with their inner child.

Date: June 14th, 15th, 16th  7pm/17th  6pm

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Tickets: $23 / $20

Bookings: thebutterflyclub.com

Review: CELIA PACQUOLA is Delayed

Tons of charm, and hilarious story-telling

By Myron My

Celia Pacquola is brilliant and I will explain why. Her Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Delayed is full of energy and spark. Pacquola has quite a skill in storytelling and you can really see her getting into the moment as she relays the misadventures of her life as an expat in London.

Most notably this is seen in her eyes which express so much: almost a life of their own! In fact, if there were an award for the comedian with the most expressive eyes, Pacquola would win without a doubt.

Thankfully though, she doesn’t fall into the trap a lot of female comedians do and begin talking about being desperate or terrible with men. Pacquola looks at other much hard-hitting subjects like flight attendants who control time, bitch hair and lies our parents told us.

Covering quite an array of topics in 60 minutes could make for a bit of a convoluted and haphazard (word of the day) set, but Pacquola makes it all flow rhythmically and tie in with her long-term long-distance relationship story arc.

The intimacy of the room – helped by the full house – added to the relationship Pacquola established with her audience as she successfully talks about her two-year gap year without ever boring us. With extra shows being added due to popular demand, Pacquola’s show is one that cannot be missed.

Pacquola mentioned in her show that using your thumbs in a dance move will always make it look bad, because thumbs make anything look bad. I would like to prove her wrong and give two thumbs up for Delayed (and yes, I made a dad joke).

Melbourne Town Hall
Until 22 April
Tue-Sat 8.30pm
Sun 7.30pm
Fri 13th & Sat 14th April 6pm
Full Fri & Sat $28
Full Wed-Thu
Full Sun $26
Ticketmaster 1300 660 013

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.

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

Review: KIMBERLEY DARK in Good Fortune

A beguiling future was in store for a raconteur and her audience

By Adam Tonking

Do you remember the pleasure, as a child, of having a story read out loud to you? Kimberley Dark’s Good Fortune instantly transported me back to those long-forgotten days.

Dark is a consummate storyteller but these are not for children. They are stories from her life, that when illuminated through her telling become stories about the world at large: about love, sex, politics, and power.

The show was presented as a kind of tasting platter – 46 stories and poems from Dark’s 15 years of performance, each attached to a quirky little artwork, which became a sort of Tarot deck, with members of the audience choosing. These pieces make up the show, with each show being unique to the audience present.

Dark explains that every audience has its own personality, and this method of framing the show’s concept lent it an air of legitimacy, but also created an air of mutual respect between Dark and the audience.

Telling stories is clearly a gift for the highly-skilled Dark. While she chatted with us amiably in between stories, discussing her history and philosophies, including a few poems as a palate cleanser between stories – the moment she opened her book, she transported the audience into another world, as only a true storyteller can.

 The tone of her voice, from beguiling to conversational, from hypnotic to questing, guides us through her world; but the stories themselves grow to encompass all of us. The material is complex yet comedic, personal yet provocative. Perhaps storytelling of this nature is a lost art, but by the end of Good Fortune I was completely enamoured with Dark and her tales.

Perhaps because of the nature of the audience choosing the material, no one will have the chance to see the same show that I did. But go anyway, and reconnect with those wonderful days of simply being told a good story by someone who knows how to tell it best.

Kimberley Dark’s Good Fortune is on for one more night, Wednesday 30th November at 8pm, at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne, with tickets available at www.thebutterflyclub.com or at the door.

Or see her show Dykeotomy at Hares and Hyenas Bookstore in Fitzroy, December 1-3. For more information go to www.kimberleydark.com.