Vote Albert and Valentine
By Caitlin McGrane
Come for the satire, stay for the music.
There is little fanfare as Tom Albert and Sam Valentine stumble through the velvet curtain to take the stage in The Butterfly Club; and initially they seem to have been kicked on stage by their manager. Do not be fooled however, for behind their boyish exteriors beat two bitingly cynical political hearts. These two vagabonds begin with an emphatic plea to the room to have them as their elected representatives. Representatives of what, exactly, is slightly unclear but it’s definitely something to do with sex. All the innuendo and double entendres is a useful way to get the audience fired up initially, it’s just a shame this energy couldn’t have continued throughout.
No doubt creative, intelligent and energetic performers, Dirty. Sexy. Politics has the makings of a great show, I’m just not sure that we haven’t heard some of what they’re saying before. Surely I can’t be the only person who’s heard the one about the party whip? However, two things captured and held my attention in this show: the music, which was entertaining, irreverent, and poignant in places; and the quick asides from the performers when they appeared to slip from the ‘script’.
Albert and Valentine (a double act name that rolls easily off the tongue) shine on stage as vaudevillian counterparts, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. I particularly enjoyed the unions song, and when Valentine singled out my companion as a likely candidate for sexual dysfunction. I laughed most of the way through the hour, and had a thoroughly good time. This election, I’m voting for Albert and Valentine.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Saturday 28th March 7pm and Sunday 29th March 6pm.
Price: Full $28 |Conc $25
The writing’s on the wall…
By Myron My
Performing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Public Toilets, Private Words takes a look at just what its title proclaims. The inspiration for the whole comedy cabaret-esque show is taken from graffiti found scrawled on toilet cubicles, including that of the venue in which they are performing: La Mama Theatre. It’s because of this that the show has been able to constantly evolve and grow over time as different graffiti is found and different actors are able to bring different ideas to the show.
This season’s performers – Tom Albert, Caitlin Armstrong and Eloise Maree (the creative producer of Public Toilets, Private Words since its creation in 2011) – have brilliant banter, and the interaction with the audience feels genuine and not at all contrived. Whenever artists are breaking that wall with audience members, it opens them up to unpredictability and the cast manage this with aplomb and an easy casualness that makes them all very likeable.
The three work with various ideas stemming from the graffiti of public restrooms such as theories as to why people choose to graffiti toilets in the first place, and then take a humorous look-back at the history of toilet graffiti. This is intermixed with monologues and thoughts pertaining to the topic at hand, which sometimes get a bit too serious for a show in a comedy festival. Even with their acknowledgement of the irony, these interludes feel out of place.
The artists are a talented trio: Albert plays a variety of musical instruments and the obvious singing ability of all three help support the various types of songs they perform. My highlight of the evening though would be the ‘dance’ number to Swan Lake – very enjoyable to watch.
As a comedy show, Public Toilets Private Words does not always hit the mark. The humour is often side-stepped and the laughs are not plentiful. However as a performance piece, it is an interesting concept and a unique show, which brings depth to an idea that most people would not even think twice about.
Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street Carlton
Season: Until 13 April | Wed, Fri 6pm, Thurs, Sat 9pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
or 9347 6142