Tag: Zoe McDonald

MICF 2016: Zoe McDonald in GOOD MORNING MOFO

Promising characters invite solid laughs

By Myron My

Zoe McDonald’s one-woman, multiple-character comedy show Good Morning Mofo begins before it even begins. As we enter the “studio”, Channel 8 intern, Jenny, “who’s not getting paid but really happy to be here” anxiously seats everyone and ensures all health and safety issues are recognised and everyone is comfortable. After a brief audience warm-up, Channel 8’s morning show Brunch begins with host, Chloe Davis, introducing us to Women’s Week, where the whole week of episodes  will be devoted to issues that are important to women. A whole week!

Good Morning Mofo.jpg

The sly and satirical ‘hot’ topics include how bad invisible panty lines are, and how to lessen the harsh reality of laugh-lines on your face. McDonald introduces us to a variety of women both in front and behind the camera of Brunch, including weather reporter Rochelle, Pamela from wardrobe and Anita from make-up.

McDonald does stellar work with her slick impersonations and the voice and demeanour of Chloe Davis in particular feel very real, as if she actually belongs in a TV show that is the love child of 60 Minutes and Frontline. This is where the humour in the show really finds its stride and feels less forced than at other times. The subtle anxieties that Davis feels about her career and future employment opportunities could even have been explored further though as they seemed to bubble on the surface of something much more poignant.

It is clear and worthwhile what McDonald is trying to say about the representation and treatment of women in the news and entertainment industry: however, by having so many characters appear throughout the one-hour show, the script feels a little disjointed and the connections we seek with the characters don’t always manifest.

I felt the $10,000 cash-prize phone call segments between Davis and “bogan” winner Jessica Murphy could easily have been removed without impacting the show in a negative way. The scenes with the talent agent brought to the surface the issues older women face in a seemingly younger woman’s world, but the extreme way in which she was portrayed made her feel less genuine and sympathetic as a person and more of an overt caricature.

Good Morning Mofo does well in providing the laughs to the audience as it portrays a variety of interesting women all trying to make it in the cutthroat television industry and struggling to be treated as equals regardless of gender, age or appearance. With some refinement over whose story McDonald is working to explore, these important concerns will become stronger, clearer and resonate even more with the audience.

Good Morning Mofo was performed at the Malthouse Theatre as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival between 23 March – 17 April.

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Review: CHANTS DES CATACOMBES

Hypnotic and intriguing – but got a little lost…

By Kim Edwards

Cabaret is often distinguished from other forms of theatre by its atmosphere: the sense of being drawn into the space and narrative, and caught up easily and absorbidly into a new and rarified air.

Innovative collaborative cabaret  project Chants Des Catacombes is promenade theatre that thus beckons you down into the beautiful and eerie bowels of the Donkey Wheel House in Bourke Street to hear the tales and echoing songs of three women who still haunt the labyrinthine basement long after their demise.

The initial creation of atmosphere and use of space is just sublime in this production. Nicola Andrew’s spectacular lighting design reveals each new room and scene as a place of chiaroscuro and spectacle, and the audience wandered fearless and fascinated down halls, around pillars and through doorways as the action unfolded in front, behind and between us.

The concept of Chants Des Catacombes is beguiling, and the multi-sensory experience highly engaging, but narrative and characters are strangely jarring and indistinct. The desire to understand who these three women are and what holds them here remains unsatiated: lyrics and anecdotes were difficult to hear as snatches of story floated away down corridors, diction was muffled or volume insufficient.

Moreover, while cabaret delights in reconsidering songs in new contexts and styles, obviously anachronistic modern music when we wanted to immerse ourselves in the past felt intrusive and disruptive – particularly the closing number that left the audience silent in surprise.

Perhaps the desire is indeed to unsettle us and prevent us losing ourselves completely in this world and the lives and deaths created, as fragmented narrative and characters and songs wisp and whisper away into the shadows, but for me, Chants Des Catacombes ultimately did not quite achieve the gothic, ghostly, sultry heights the publicity had evoked.

Nonetheless, the performances were certainly mesmerising (and I appreciated the subtle art of the ushers as crew, scenery, signposts, props and brooding presence), the overall experience is unique and enjoyable, and the chance to traverse and haunt a cabaret performance space yourself as witness and voyeur and silent participant is – well, simply to die for

Chants Des Catacombes is the collaborative creation of:

• Nicola Andrews (Lighting Designer and VCA Design Graduate)
• Anna Boulic (Winner of the 2010 Short and Sweet Cabaret Festival, Harpist and NIDA Graduate)
• Laura Burzacott (Call Girl the Musical and I Heart Frankston)
• Nathan Gilkes (Theatre & Opera Director and VCA Directing Graduate)
• David Harford (Choreographer and Ballarat Arts Academy Graduate)
• Bryce Ives (Theatre Director Call Girl the Musical, The History Boys and I Heart Frankston)
• Emma Leah (Scent Alchemist)
• Zoe McDonald (Wrong Town and VCA Musical Theatre Graduate)
• Sophie Woodward (Designer and VCA Graduate)

Venue: Donkey Wheel House, 673 Bourke Street Melbourne
Dates:  Fri-Sat 17-18 June 8.30pm & 10.30pm, Sun 19 June 6pm.
Tickets: $30/conc $25
Bookings: http://www.trybooking.com/9503 or at the door