PO PO MO CO: Nosfer-Arse-Tu

PoPoMoCo’s Nosfer-Arse-Tu is a rollicking, fabulous force of queer ass (pun intended) pantomime. The show is presented by an upcoming queer-clown group known for this very particular brand of off the wall, yet socially acute, humour. Nosfer-Arse-Tu is a not-so-classical retelling of ‘man goes on a journey and winds up at a dark and mysterious castle’. Narrated by naughty-nurse Regina (rhymes with vagina), the Doctor protagonist is on a ‘frivolous homosexual adventure’ and is followed by his wife who’s bored of waiting at home.

A cast of strange and creepy characters support the story, not the least of whom consist of an actual face for a vagina complete with disco-ball clitoris – the appearance of whom was one of the funniest parts of the show. The face-vagina is not the only animated body part; the ‘arse’ of Nosfer-Arse-Tu comes into play. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen such a well animated arse only using giant googly eyes, a pair of plastic lips, and some hands. The sheer farce of it was side-splitting.

The show is quite pacey, and Nurse Regina keeps everything moving to naturally facilitate scene changes. Her dialogue with the audience ensures that they stay engaged even when some of jokes miss the mark and the audience was kept laughing to the brink of tears.

The show isn’t just funny. As my friend, who saw it with me, pointed out; Nosfer-Arse-Tu features some fantastically indulgent love for femme sexuality and beyond the jokes, it also makes a point of making “receptive” sexuality active rather than passive. The contrast between ‘women downs down for so long her fingers are pruney’ verses ‘man fall asleep straight after receiving pleasure’ was a complete crack-up to watch. LGBTQIA+ references abound throughout the show and the actors seem to delight in undermining heterosexual narrative norms.

This just a bloody-good-fun show to watch overall; audience engagement with the actors abounds, farce is the order of the day, and rude-and-naughty humour comes with every second line. If you’re here for a good time, but not necessarily a long time, be sure not to miss PoPoMoCo’s Nosfer-Arse-Tu.

 


Words by Taeghan Buggy

4 stars.

PO PO MO CO is playing at RAJOPOLIS at Raj House until March 18 (excluding Mondays). Tickets available here.

 

Aidan Jones: The Abersham Flat

One of the things stand up does best compared to other styles of performance is presenting an anecdote or true story in a way that feels so much more genuine. You really believe the outrageous and larger than life story being weaved before you. This is something Aidan Jones excels in his show, The Abersham Flat.

Here we follow his adventures doing what many of us only fanaticise about, moving to England to follow your dreams (in stand up) and ending up in a dodgy London flat. Here Aidan must deal with a particularly difficult roommate, conman and all-round-weird guy, Andy. This story is interweaved with other anecdotes from Aidan’s life, including the story about meeting his biological father, and a very complex STI scare.

What results in a highly compelling and hilarious journey that truly takes you on a real rollercoaster of mostly highs. It’s clear from his stage presence and performance that Aidan is no stranger to the stage. His light, self-deprecating style, and willingness to turn such personal and sometimes embarrassing stories leaves a sense of raw vulnerability which sucks you in.

Definitely a talent to look out for, check out Aidan Jones: The Abersham Flat.

 


Words by Simone Corletto

4 stars.

Aidan Jones: The Abersham Flat is playing at the Nook at The Producers until March 18 (excluding Mondays). Tickets available here.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker was not what I expected. It had far more emotional heft and raw truth about than one might expect. It manages to evoke in the audience a mixture of emotions as complex and heady as even the most fascinating of wines.

Nestled into the Treasury 1860 bar, the show has an intimate feel, which serves to make the show’s more hard-hitting moments all the more powerful, and reminded me somewhat of the setting for Cheers. A bar, the universal problems of human angst and confusion, and some alcohol. It’s quite the mixture. There’s also a touch of Sideways about it – but dare I say, better.

With a deftness of touch performer Anna Thomas is able to take us through the full range of human emotions in an hour. In the hands of a less skilled performer, the changes between the light and whimsical and the moving and powerful would have jarred. Not so here, as the pacing and shifting of tone is handled artfully.

The show takes the audiences to places they would be unlikely to expect for a show with such whimsical title but that serves only to add to the performance’s strengths.

The show is built around six wines: first three whites, then three reds. The comparison between characteristic of the wine and emotions and experiences is handled excellently. The audience has the option to play along and taste each wine, creating a journey that transcends senses and taps into something intrinsic. I heartily suggest you elect to taste the wines as you go through as this opens up elements that may otherwise be missed.

Anna Thomas describes the wine in the manner of a ‘wine wanker’ but also imparts upon it a feeling, an impression, and with each sip, it is hard to argue with the choices she makes and the conclusions she draws. This is an incredibly personal, honest, and affecting performance and received one of the most thoroughly-earned rounds of applause I’ve ever witnessed.

All around, a transcendent performance, mounted well, and with a fitting choice of venue in Treasury 1860. This sharply honest, painfully real, and warmly human show will tick all the emotional boxes and manages, somehow, to be educational along the way too.

 


Words by Liam McNally.

Five stars.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is playing at Treasury 1860 every Saturday and Sunday until March 25. Tickets available here.

BAD [w]OMEN: Mirrors

You know what takes dedication? Wearing a silver latex jumpsuit outdoors on a sticky Adelaide evening. The ladies of BAD w[OMEN] had no trouble running, jumping, dancing and beating one another up with plastic baseball bats in their silver outfits, even with the humidity bearing down on us like a musty cave bear.

 

BAD w[OMEN] has all the trademarks of a standard sketch show – from handmade props and costumes to slapstick and easily recognisable archetypes of characters for each scene. But this show also went beyond the standard – tying all the seemingly unrelated sketches together into an insanely interconnected storyline.

 

What’s more, sketch by sketch the audience was exposed to a strong underlying theme of feminism and women’s struggles against workplace sexism – dished out left, right and centre by the recurring voice-over of sketch-show boss and first-class sleaze-bag ‘Dave’. The show tackled the really meaty issues of women’s day-to-day struggles through punchy and provoking humour that never felt preachy yet stuck with us well after the show was finished. This was definitely more than a run-of-the-mill sketch show. This was something more ambitious, and more satisfying to watch. It was comedy with substance – and that’s always something worth sticking around for.

 

This is a show that gets the audience engaged with the characters of the story – something which is unusual for a sketch show but which played out triumphantly for BAD w[OMEN]. With each passing scene the audience found themselves wondering what would happen to our Spanish lesson heroine Maria, or the book club of bubbly-guzzling newly-minted feminists. And when we weren’t seeing the strings of these stories come together we were treated to some sensual Fringe box-office service, an intense Harry Potter rendition and the antics of the Producers’ own resident ghost.

 

Over-the-top, sharp, timely and non-stop funny, this show is a must-see for lovers of comedy and people looking for something rather different yet oddly familiar to sink their teeth into. It’s comedy with heart and balls (the lady kind). In BAD w[OMEN]’s own words, ‘join us as we tackle the big stuff. And the small stuff. Because when you take the piss, you take the power.’

 


Words by Lisandra Linde

4.5 Stars.

BAD [w]OMEN is playing at The Producers until March 2 (except Mondays). Tickets are available here.

Pat McCaffrie: Pat Riot

Local boy turned traitorous Melbournian, Pat McCaffrie returns to his home ground with his brand new show, Pat Riot. After brilliant shows in 2016 and 2017, this year we get another solid performance, albeit with a slightly different focus to previously sets.

Pat’s quick wit and intelligent commentary remains the same, although this year there seems to be less emphasis on the political jokes, and after the ridiculous antics of the last twelve months, this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But with every other comedian and his dog covering this subject matter, it’s fair enough to try something a bit more original.

The rest of the material – and even the non-material at the beginning – is still entertaining and worth some solid laughs, as he draws from anecdotes from his life and self-depreciation gags that are hallmarks of Australian comedy. There are perhaps a few too many easy jabs at Arts grads, which I’ve already heard a lot of at this Fringe and it gets less funny each time, but this is somewhat salvaged from his own admission of being an Arts grad. Still, no one gets points for poking low-hanging fruit (I don’t need to be reminded of my job prospects, thanks). It’s as funny as jokes about Adelaide, which thankfully were not a feature in this show. The most memorable jab was at Sydney’s expense, which I think we can all agree is always fair game.

Overall, while I personally enjoyed last year’s show better, this is still a solid performance. Stand up is a hard gig. Even the best have shows which don’t quite land as well as others. My favourite jokes were those about everyone’s favourite adulterer Barnaby Joyce, which, yes, is low-hanging fruit at this stage but as a hypocritical douchebag with far too much power, he will always be a worthy subject of mockery.

It’s easy to overlook the up-and-comers in the wide sea of Big Name Comedians at the Fringe, but you’d be missing a great deal of talent if you do, and this show is no exception. A good comedian can be hard to find, but you can definitely find one in Pat McCaffrie.

 


Words by Simone Corletto.

Four stars.

Pat McCaffrie: Pat Riot is performing at the Producers until March 2 (except Feb 26). Tickets available here.

AAAAAAAARGH! It’s the Best of Fringe Comedy from the UK

AAAAAAAARGH! It’s the Best of Fringe Comedy from the UK (that’s with eight ‘a’s, just so you know) showcases three comedians each night. These bite-sized stand-up shows allow everyone to get something for their own taste and test something new. The show clearly has a following of some passion as the host recognised several of the audience members.

One audience member recognised the host’s shirt (though it wasn’t the same one – he just has a hell of a lot of red Spiderman shirts). Another couple in the first row, were recognised by the comedians, having gone to shows in Adelaide, Perth, Edinburgh, and Melbourne. If you need any kind of signal of the quality of a show, someone willing to pursue its performers across the globe is about as good a sign as one can get.

Each of the three comedians showed something new and different and with an ever-changing line-up, the shows feel like a smorgasbord of each comedian’s work and works well as a starting point for lovers of comedy everywhere to make their start into the wide-ranging world of the Fringe’s many comedy helpings.

For those who wish to keep their heads down and not be noticed in the audience, this isn’t the sort of show where you’ll be unexpectedly picked upon. On the other hand, there are those who love the unexpected elements of audience interaction and the thorough professionals these comedians are, they are adept at picking the right audience members to engage with.

Last night’s show ranged from one of the comedian’s experiences with the strangest ‘knock knock’/Doctor Who joke to another decrying his hairdresser’s failure of duty of care in allowing him to take his current (quite recognisable) hairstyle. Along the way, we take in subjects as diverse as Christmas, life on a cruise ship, the changing face of dating and courtship, and the reason Scotland and England will never finally break up after all.

The show will never be exactly the same, from one night to the next, allowing for the audience to feel that the set they watch is one that will never be brought together again quite in the same way – it’s quite a unique experience. Sampling the various flavours of comedy on offer in this way helps to get the audience’s comedy tastebuds going and is sure to see some of the viewers go on to pursue the comedians’ other shows.


Words by Liam McNally

4 stars.

AAAAAAAARGH! It’s the Best of Fringe Comedy from the UK is playing every night at The Griffins Hotel (except Monday). Tickets available here.

The Death of Stalin

‘I know the drill. Smile, shake hands, and try not to call them cunts.’

The Death of Stalin is thoroughly stamped with the unique talent and style of Armando Ianucci, the creator of the UK’s The Thick of It, and subsequently the US’s Veep. The film is based upon a graphic novel but the final product feels unmistakably Ianucci’s.

The film follows the political manoeuvres of soviet leaders in the wake of, surprisingly enough, Stalin’s death. It features a sizeable host of respected actors from both Britain and the United States with not one of them bothering with even a motion in the direction of a Russian accent – some even seem to go quite the other way.

This cavalcade of stars is headed by sterling performances from Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev (‘I’m the peacemaker and I’ll fuck over anyone who gets in my way’), Jason Isaacs as Georgy Zhukov (‘I took Germany, I think I can take a flesh lump in a waistcoat’), and Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov (‘I have no idea what is going on’).

It surely seems a tough ask to find humour in such a dark time in human history but the balance is found by never turning the humour on the suffering but simply on the perverse and absurd scramble for power. In this respect, the same style present in The Thick of It and Veep can be found. Also present, and surely a necessity of an Ianucci script is the liberal use of coarse language. Peter Capaldi (Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It) may not present to lend his masterful swearing to the film but the rest of the cast certainly picks up the slack.

If the film has an antagonist, it is surely Beria, who is played in suitably grotesque and monstrous fashion by Simon Russell Beale. The head of the NKVD, instrumental in Stalin’s lengthy death lists, sexual predator, and ‘sneaky little shit’, Beria is set aside from other characters for being several measures more assured in his manipulation of the political system and being more inclined to violence. While a few jokes do go Beria’s way, he is always suitably menacing and cunning.

The film acknowledges the broad strokes of history but plays fast and loose with the smaller details. It’s not an advisable choice for historical research as it is unlikely General Zhukov ever asked Malenkov if Coco Chanel had taken a shit on his head but on the other hand, I know of no historical document that can disprove that.

Ultimately, The Death of Stalin finds its best moments in the absurdity of political manoeuvring, the awkwardness of officialdom, and the stupidity of tradition. In these respects it has a very similar tone to The Thick of It and Veep and finds even in the most serious of situations, most people, like Comrade Malenkov, ‘have no idea what is going on.’


Words by Liam McNally.