Tag: ventriloquism

David Strassman in iTedE

They’re back!

By Joana Simmons

David Strassman and his colourful collection of puppets are bringing absolute magic and comedic brilliance to the Atheneaum Theatre in his brand-new show iTedE. Renowned as the man who made ventriloquism hip again, Strassman has been cracking up audiences at the Athenaeum for 15 years and is back, pushing boundaries further with spellbinding technology and timely social commentary.  His ability to make all those characters fully come to life is unbelievable.

David Strassman.jpg

With the help of the lovable Ted. E. Bare, Strassman warms up the crowd with suitable jokes related to AFL Grand Final weekend. We learn that Strassman is worried that with our lives becoming more and more reliant on technology, our imaginations are becoming weaker, which means shows like his and live theatre will die out. He wants to rally his puppets together to sit on a panel at a TED Talk about “the suspension of disbelief.” The range of characters and the way they are developed is incredible: from Chuck Wood, the wise-cracking, quick-witted and ever uncouth, to Buttons, the sick, intoxicated clown. We see how they are different parts of Strassman’s personality; the voices in his head bought to life with absolute dexterity and intelligence.

It is delightful to see how even in our world of CGI and virtual reality (looking at you, Pokeman GO!) how the robotics and puppeteering can have a crowd swept up in every move and wetting themselves laughing in the process. The robotics are incredibly advanced, allowing each puppet to move on their own. The set, lighting and sound are high-quality and transform the theatre into a new world. The thing that still has my jaw dropping is how there were no breaks between all the voices Strassman was doing. How he managed to breathe is beyond me, and shows how he is truly a master.

Melbourne has a host of awesome art going on at the moment– Melbourne Fringe, Melbourne Festival, gigs, musicals and all the underground instillations this city is renowned for. Strassman’s iTedE is an event not to miss. It reignites your inner child’s imaginative flame and tickles your adult sense of humour. Book today, it’s worth braving the Footy crowds for!

Show Details:

Strassman: iTedE

30 Sep – 15 Oct 2016, 7pm

The Athenaeum, Collins Street



Or the voices in your head might start talking back…!

By Deborah Langley

David Strassman. He’s the dark-edged, avant-garde artist who lifted ventriloquism into the 21st century, acquiring a multitude of fans and critical acclaim along the way for his outstanding skill and his ability to push the medium to another level – and he is back in Melbourne after three years. Led by the evil Chuck Wood and delightfully cute Ted E Bare, Strassman’s developed characters and high-tech puppetronics creates a multi-layered stage performance that is easy to forget is a one-man show.

With the use of sophisticated multi-media and some tried-and-tested pantomime repertoire, Careful What You Wish For takes the audience inside Strassman’s head as he plays out his different alter egos through the use of various puppets and robots.

Using the premise that Strassman wants to retire, but his characters are not interested in spending the rest of eternity in some museum or stuck in a suitcase, we are introduced to some for the audience’s favourite characters. Of course the aforementioned Chuck and Teddy feature prominently, but we also get to meet the Vegas Stand-Up Sid the Beaver, the doddery Grandpa Fred, a female character Angel the wish-granting robot, and my favourite, the old-fashioned (albeit very drunk) Buttons The Clown.

Strassman manages to keep the material local and current with references to Geelong bogans, Julia Gillard, Mitt Romney and the Dandenongs, and he certainly has the audience eating out of his hand for the full two hours with toilet humour, low-brow and gay jokes running the show.

For me, the homophobic element got a little too much as did the Frankston bashing but I am sure I was the only one to notice as audience members engaged with every joke offered. Even a shameless demonstration of Strassman’s new Fortune-Telling App was a crowd-pleaser with audience members offering up questions for Ted E Bare and Chuck to answer. “Will I get laid tonight?” was answered favourably by the Chuck App, even though Stassman himself obviously thought differently…!

The show ends, elated, as Stassman and his puppetronics join together in a medley of some of the funnest songs making the audience clap along and making this reviewer feel like a big kid again. As we’re walking out, the next audience is busting to see what all the cheers were about as this master performer gets ready to do it all again.

David Strassman’s Careful What You Wish For is playing at the Athenaeum Theatre until December. Bookings can be made through Ticketek on 1300 795 012


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