Larry Dean – Fudnut

‘Fudnut’ is Glaswegian slang for ‘idiot’ and in Fudnut Larry Dean attempts to dissect where and how he was a fudnut in his recent string of relationship woes. For Dean, owning his sadness is the key to dissipating it. Personally, I like to use copious amounts of rum, liberally applied as required, to own my sadness, but different strokes and all that.

His most recent meaningful relationship ended in a familiar way; break-up, reconciliation, discovery of infidelity, second break-up, couple of rebounds to take the edge off. Peppered with his trademark observations, Dean tends to go off on tangent after tangent before dragging the story back to the original narrative. It’s all really rather funny, his off-handed comments consistently hitting the mark. His penchant for impressions and accents also regularly enhances the story – it takes it all from routine stand-up to another level, a bloke who’s clearly very good at what he does and very comfortable being on stage telling you stories rather than firing jokes at you and demanding you laugh.

Whilst most of the material lands solidly, there’s a few rough patches where it’s missed the target. Although Dean expertly moves straight on, you can tell that some of the jokes need a bit of work. It doesn’t detract from the overall show though, with plenty of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.

It’s all part of his very charming, somewhat inoffensive delivery. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it really isn’t – the ability to be funny and make jokes that don’t require punching down or being needlessly controversial is quite a skill than many comics couldn’t locate if they were the AFP raiding a journalist’s house.

Fudnut is critical introspection without being woe-is-me-please-feel-sad-for-me, and his casual but skilful stage presence underlines the overall quality of the show. He’ll regularly get lost in a story, stumble upon something that he finds tremendously amusing and just has to let us in on the joke, and in turn cracks himself up. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about watching a very talented comedian who clearly loves his job.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Larry Dean’s Fudnut is playing until March 15

For more information and tickets click here

Eddie Ray – Leader of the Resistance

Do you love The Terminator?  Well this show is perfect for you! Even if your heart doesn’t miss a beat when you think of the time-travelling cyborg, this is still the show for you. A comedy cabaret – Leader of the Resistance is the strange mix of social commentary and silliness that you don’t even realise you’re missing.

Eddie Ray’s preview performance Wednesday night was so much more than I expected. From the first minute he had his audience hooked and hanging onto his every word in spite of the sometimes semi-deranged look in his eye when he talks about being that guy, you know the one, the one who’s crazy enough not to have a mobile phone.

Starting off with an anecdote about childhood and a much simpler time, the show progresses, exploring the growing disconnect irl. We, the collective, are obsessed with our smart-phones; they rule our day-to-day lives and give us an excuse to ignore those around us. It’s no longer appropriate to say “hi” to the person next to you when you’re waiting for a bus and even a polite “is this seat taken?” is often ignored in favour of the screens in our hands.

Eddie gets into just what this show is about with the transformation of his character from that guy without a phone into that guy with a phone – highlighting the reliance many people have on this technology today. Think talking in hashtags, targeted advertising (knowing what you want before you do), and the plain and simple degradation of language.

While the Terminator references certainly make it fun and appealing, it isn’t just this show’s inter-textuality that makes it brilliant. Together with social commentary and the whims of a talented musician, Eddie builds his music with his voice, his guitar, and a loop station. While Eddie proclaimed his show was silliness about a serious topic, this is a showcase of skill and the fun you can have when an idea catches hold and you’re free to play and create.

Having held his audience captive for nearly the entire performance, I’d highly recommend seeing this comedy cabaret during its short run time.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Kayla Gaskell

Eddie Ray Leader of the Resistance is playing at The Mill’s The Breakout until March 7
For more information and tickets click here

JONATHAN PIE: THE FAKE NEWS TOUR

A few years ago, Jonathan Pie racked up over one hundred million views with a profanity-laced tirade about a certain someone getting elected President of the United States. The general gist of this rant was not that he was annoyed at Trump’s victory, it was his white-hot visceral rage at the other side for becoming what they’d become – elitist, aloof, unwilling to engage with people holding opposing views or ideals. Of course, being a lefty he was also rather unimpressed with the President-elect, but it was more a case of how could they have let this happen? Four years on, not much has changed.

His latest tour is on the back of his fictional firing by the BBC – Pie is in fact played by comedian & actor Tom Walker, with occasional help from Andrew Doyle – for making a pretty reprehensible statement that he freely admits he really shouldn’t have done, or at least made sure the camera wasn’t still transmitting. As far as excuses for swanning about Australia in the middle of summer go, it’s a pretty good one. Bit of a working holiday; enjoying the sunshine, getting up on stage for a handful of nights, and giving the people what they want – dick jokes, tearing shreds off of Tories, big-‘L’ Liberals, small-L liberals, Labor, Labour, Republicans, Democrats, and some blunt opinions about cancel culture, the professionally offended, and of course, wantonly attacking just about everything else, especially Twitter. By god he hates Twitter.

Pie maintains that the media, specifically the 24-hour news cycle that was normalised post-9/11 and fuelled by instantaneously published ‘opinions’ on Twitter, has accelerated the moral decay of political discussion to the point that now almost immediately in any situation a vast majority of people have adopted the ‘Brexit Face’ – where they just glaze over and stop listening, waiting only for the other person to stop talking. Kicking off with the origins of Brexit, the lecture – not a stand-up routine, he’s at pains to explain – gradually morphs into a diatribe where he questions how we’ve gotten to this point; climate change, crackpot world leaders, divisiveness, and identity politics.

Having previously admitted that Pie was a manner in which to vent when Walker was struggling for acting jobs, the character has become a version of The Thick of It Malcolm Tucker, if Tucker was secretly a bleeding-heart lefty who could accept that reducing his carbon footprint and being a bit more open-minded about things could actually be beneficial. Happily swinging a rather precise axe at everything he deems a worthy target, The Fake News Tour is equal parts Pie’s/Walker’s utter despair at the current state of affairs and his bright hope for the future.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Jonathan Pie – The Fake News Tour was on for one night only at the Royalty Theatre.

Welcome to Japan

From food to bathroom etiquette, public transport to comedy show audiences, Takashi Wakasugi is welcoming Adelaide to an hour of irreverent observational humour.  Having gotten his comedy legs under him as a university student in Sydney, Wakasugi is in the perfect position to make cultural comparisons between Australia and Japan, and he isn’t afraid to be a little x-rated (consider this a forewarning if you’re planning on attending the show with your grandmother).

Welcome to Japan moves seamlessly between everything from sex jokes and critiques of Western porn, to a performance of original haikus. There are reenactments, props, audience interaction, and a good sense that nothing is off limits. But while the routine makes use of a number of comedic devices, where it really shines is during Wakasugi’s direct observations, a point emphasised when the microphone made a dramatic lapse into silence halfway through the show, and he spent a handful of minutes interacting with the audience on the fly, maintaining the show’s momentum without breaking a sweat.

While the comedy routine creates laughs a-plenty, on the occasion a joke fell flat Wakasugi integrated the moment into his routine with grace and ploughed ahead with gusto. This ability to roll with the crowd, alongside an evident love for both cultures, carried the audience comfortably through the less polished three-quarter mark of the show.

There’s a lot that’s covered and poked fun at over the course of the hour, from his experience working in an office job in Japan, to the trials and tribulations of being a backpacker working on a farm in Australia, and perhaps most importantly, the dangers of getting a tattoo in a language you don’t understand. Together, the anecdotes provide a lighthearted introduction to Japanese culture and humour, while also reflecting on the best and most confusing parts of Australian culture.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

Welcome to Japan is showing until February 29

For more information and to book tickets click here

Boys Taste Better with Nutella

I can’t recall laughing at having cold Macca’s fries thrown at me, and then instantly being floored by a stark, brutal admission, so a tip of the propeller beanie to you, Caitlin Hill and Peter Wood. I mean, I’ve definitely had fries chucked at me a few times after I’ve said something inappropriate, and on one particular occasion someone lobbed a half-eaten kebab at me, but the 1-2 combination of an amusing dance routine and a rather blunt statement? That’s definitely new.

Boys Taste Better with Nutella is a brief, and at times sharp, examination of Aggy’s (Hill) love life and Frederick’s (Wood) sexuality. For Aggy it’s a revolving door of manipulative scumbags that inevitably break her heart, whilst for Frederick it’s coming to terms with who he actually might be, and what he’s allergic to. Punctuated by silly dance numbers and throwaway pop-culture referencing one-liners, both characters find replacements for their respective struggles: Aggy’s best friend Nutella masks the latest bloke that she’s changed herself completely for, and Frederick takes solace in producing Mukbang videos and McDonald’s fries.

Both are addicted to the instant gratification that they find in each of their vices; Aggy either falls for a guy she believes will love and adore her unconditionally, or she gets to inhale Nutella, and Frederick gets immediate acceptance, likes, and comments on his videos, or he gets to mainline fries like a junkie. Of course, both characters have a genesis for their coping mechanisms, which gets explored through absurd and exaggerated situations, with Wood often playing a range of supporting characters to Hill’s leading role.

Whilst it’s pretty low-hanging fruit – millennials learning to accept and better themselves without having to rely on motivational Instagram posts of profoundly banal quotes over idyllic mountains – Boys Taste Better With Nutella doesn’t pull any punches, and gets pretty confrontational with the topics it brings up. Yeah, it’s ludicrous and stupid but it’s clever and quite poignant at the same time. Wood and Hill ham it up whilst giving serious commentary on the increasing isolation and lack of identity that’s come about with modern hyper-connectivity. Their slick comedic timing means both bounce effectively off each other, and their evident talents create a rather enjoyable show.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Boys Taste Better with Nutella is showing until February 23

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

A J Holmes: Yeah, But Not Right Now

The 10pm slot in Gluttony means that the crowd is varied in the demographic and levels of sobriety. The cosy tent was filled with laughter, singing, and playful banter with the crowd throughout the show.

Previously featured on Broadway in the hit show The Book of Mormon, AJ Holmes serenades the audience with his angelic voice, enthusiastic piano playing, a guitar, and a loop pedal.

Gloriously reminiscent of high-school musical theatre, Yeah, But Not Right Now has it all: awkwardness, validation tension, and overconfidence galore. Sit back while Holmes sings you stories about horrible things with a smile on his face, or joyful things in a sulk. This one man show conveys the highs and lows of showbiz, dating apps, and just being in your 20s.

AJ Holmes opens up about his grandma, his life on Broadway, his Facebook-posting mother, and his revelations along the way. I found myself laughing with sympathy, awkwardness, and sentimentality in this unique show.

Uncomfortably intimate at times, the show spans an hour of deep, and not so deep, soul gazing at AJ’s life: a kaleidoscope of joy, love, epiphanies, eroticism, and a riot of laughs. Aimed at an audience in their 20s and above, I found myself relating to every word with a knowing chuckle.

A musical born out of procrastination, this show is for any procrastinator, Casanova, wanna-be-actor or chronic over sleeper.

I give this show a four out of five stars, because I haven’t seen anything that left me grinning throughout and with an echo of that laughter pinching my cheeks hours later.

 


Words by Sarah Ingham

Yeah, But Not Right Now is playing at Gluttony until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

Evan Desmarais: Pizza & Ice-cream

One of the worst things, the absolute worst things ever, is peeling back the foil top of a cup of instant noodles and it tears awkwardly and you’ve got to sit there picking it off for twenty minutes, and it gets stuck under your nails or it just won’t come off and now the noodles are cold and everything’s terrible. Or discovering that you’re now lactose intolerant and can no longer enjoy two of your favourite things in life, pizza and ice-cream. Or the girl you love  and adore has met someone else and she’s genuinely happy. Actually, no, that’s the undisputed worst thing ever.

About five years ago, Desmarais discovered he could no longer get stuck into a family tub of neapolitan ice-cream and enjoy it, and it got him thinking, what else could he no longer do? What else did he have to reckon with? But, just like the difficult second album gets followed by the god-awful experimental reggae third or fourth album, he met a girl. She was lovely. She had a weird Australian name, just like half of the country. They didn’t last. As far as a discography goes, this rivals The Vines’ Melodia for a drop-off.

He ended up in Manchester where he set about making new friends in the most efficient way possible – by going to bars and talking to the bartender where they have to be mates with you – which led to being out-bro’d by a newly-single girl testing the greatest bad theory there is; that the best way to get over someone is get under someone else. Or next to in a barroom toilet cubicle. Look, when life delivers you a swift kick in the slats, what’re you gonna do? You’re gonna milk that for comedy, man. And rightly so.

As you’ve probably guessed, Kierkegaard this is not. It’s self-described as dick jokes with heart by a balding man in a backwards cap, but some people like to laugh at swearing, yeast infections, and at themselves. The only drawback is that it’s a bit of a niche market, and accordingly, individual results may vary. As good as he is at charming a crowd – think Blur’s Parklife rather than Melodia here, as the ‘with heart’ bit is a gross understatement – it helps if the audience is on the same boat. Desmarais will pick at the foil still stuck to the cup, and even if it doesn’t fully come off, the noodles are still pretty damn tasty.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Evan Desmarais: Pizza & Ice-cream is on at Gluttony until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

Jon Brooks: Selfies From Chernobyl

Jon Brooks got old, man. Ok, that’s probably a little mean, but he’d be the first to lament about the passage of time and the… seasoning that comes with it. Y’see, when you get old, and you inevitably reflect on the things that used to minor bugbears now really annoy you those things tend to stick in your mind, and after a while you’ve just gotta roll up your sleeves, spit on your hands, and hoist the black flag.

When Brooks makes an observation, he tends to deliver it like an annoyed heavyweight UFC fighter looking to exploit your glass jaw – and he hits like grandad’s homemade Grappa. He’s now the wrong side of 40, and with that comes changes, and they’re not always great; accidentally & mysteriously breaking his back last May – he’s still not sure how it happened, only that it very much did painfully happen – had him laid-up for five months with only the internet for company and has allowed him to really define things he absolutely detests – book people, social media spats between Z-List pseudo-celebrities, Brussel Sprouts, Scott Morrison, the light at the end of the tunnel that seems to be getting a little brighter every day – a booty call in your late-20s is a thing of joyous wonder that you excitedly prepare for, but in your 40s? For Brooks it’s now become more a matter of life and death, once more in the breach, dear friends, as what once was second-nature now requires a last will & testament is prepared and left on the bedside table. Stuff changes, and that’s scary, man.

Being a veteran of twelve years as a stand-up comedian, despite a hiatus of a few years, means that Brooks is instantly at ease on the stage, with an effortless cadence and delivery that underscores his show. Occasionally the jokes fall a little flat, and where a rookie would falter, Brooks squares up, dodges the jab, and suckers you with a left that you didn’t see coming… the caustic, acerbic, battle-scared pro doing what he’s really quite good at.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Jon Brooks: Selfies From Chernobyl is running from February 18 – 22 at Rhino Room.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Confessions Of A 59 Year-Old Fringe Virgin

Hello. My name is WeeStu Campbell and I am a stand-up comedian.

If the rhythm and cadence of that sentence rings familiar, it is no coincidence. Both it, and the more familiar AA introduction, points to a deep-seated addiction.

Stand up comedy is the hard stuff. Once it gets into your system it is hard to shake. For 59 years I was abstinent, sober if you will, from stand up. Until that is, one fateful Monday night in July 2019 when, at the urging of my pushers, I got up on stage at OneMic Stand open mic comedy at the Rhino Room in Adelaide. The stage lights blinded me, the laughter intoxicated me and from that moment I was hooked. Now, if I go more than three days without a fix I am in withdrawal. Believe me, it’s no laughing matter.

Now I’m about to take my addiction to a new, higher level. I’m hitting up new pushers and suppliers, sorry promoters and venues. I’m upping the frequency and intensity of my doses. I’m going to run with a much bigger, far wilder crew of performance addicts. I’m seeking the mainline, the purest shit. I’m about to embark on my first ever Adelaide Fringe as a true user: a registered artist.

I write this on Monday February 10. Opening night still four sleeps away. But, today the journey begins. FringeWorks, the administrative hub of the Fringe is open, in the Fringe Club building on the corner of Frome and Grenfell. That means I can get my hand on the ticket to all my Fringe rushes. The artist’s pass.

For the moment FringeWorks, like any good dealer, is hidden from prying eyes. The club doesn’t open until Friday. No one advertises FringeWorks. It’s a secret for us performance junkies. The Fringe signs aren’t out yet. I enter the building cautiously, surreptitiously. It’s a building site, still being fabricated. There are no signs to guide me. Luckily three magicians come down a staircase, as if floating. They recognize me; I’ve worked with them in numerous variety shows. I’ve found my dealers den.

Upstairs the dealer’s hub that is FringeWorks is also in a state of flux. Workstations, printers the other necessities of an artist’s mobile office, still being put together. Again, I’m recognised. Being called WeeStu and wearing outrageous t-shirts has some advantages. Matt, Supplier, Artist and Venue Coordinator beckons me over. He sees the desperate hunger in my eyes and gives me what I need. The good stuff, the key to magic journeys. The Adelaide Fringe Artist Pass. With one of my aliases, Wee Stu, on it. This will give me access to the 25 nightly hits of stage time I’ve already secured, and hopefully many more.

I leave elated. A little drunk maybe. I pass another comic on the stairs; I recognise the cravings in his eyes.

By evening, however the hunger has returned. I’m back at Rhino Room OneMic stand begging for another hit of five. They give it to me. Third act in the first session. The routine works. The laughter fixes me. Very briefly I own a piece of stage real estate. Now I only have to wait until the next open mic at the Goody Hotel on Tuesday, BRKLYN Bar on Thursday and then, at last, my Fringe debut. Love 2 Laugh, Brompton Hotel Friday 14th February, 9pm.  Come along. Join me for the ride. Share the highs, the lows, the empty rooms, the deaths on stage, the behinds the scenes, the coffee (oh the coffee) and the confessions of a 59 year-old Fringe virgin.


 

Words by Stuart Campbell

Greg Byron in Poetic Licence

Poetic Licence starts suddenly, with Greg Byron getting into the show immediately. He greets the audience and interacts with them throughout, aided by the Treasury 1860 front bar’s cosy setting.
The show covers topics as varied as Donald Trump, Margaret Thatcher, gun control, and Brexit – while still finding room to take a brief poetic detour to encompass Doctor Who. Byron tests spoken word limits in a variety of direction as he shows humour and seriousness as needed to discuss important current affairs.
It’s a treat for the audience to be directed through so many topics and engaged so fully. Byron effortlessly communicates with the audience and though audience involvement may be a thing of terror for a great many, here you are in the hands of someone who knows exactly how far to take it and exactly how best to elicit the desired responses.
The performance was fast-paced, kept the audience’s interest, and when it was over left everyone wanting more. With a great variety of subjects and an interesting take on them all, this performance feels too quickly finished, and when that is the only criticism, you know the show is a good one.
Byron shows his talent in wordplay and pushing language to achieve things both insightful and impressive, often at once. He eschews expectation and can take the audience down an unexpected pathway to the delight of all in the audience. He seems to go well beyond simple wordplay and achieve some sort of word experiment that never fails to yield something worthwhile.
If you are interested in trying a spoken word performance and not yet done so, Greg Byron’s Poetic Licence is an excellent place to start.

 


Words by Liam McNally

5 stars

Greg Byron in Poetic Licence is playing at Treasury 1860 until March 17, except Fridays. Tickets available here.