It's been a busy few weeks as the sun peers down upon Melbourne for the first time in many months! But now Fringe is over, and with it, the first ever proper season of Set List, a new musical improvisation format with a great deal of potential. We only got near to realising that potential on the last night, though I still think the second show was very good, too. It was a product of not enough time spent on the right things, and there'll be a lot of words and discussion before I get involved with another season, but I hope we do bring it back and do it right.

I am proud of that last show, though, and of some of my improvised lyrics, including our very last song, a "We Are the World" style charity single which ended up being for that much forgotten cause, feline AIDS. My favourite line: "People think that cats get AIDS from havin' unprotected sex like mugs / but the truth is most cats get feline AIDS from usin' intravenous drugs". The refrain was also cute: "Get spayed, not kitty AIDS"...I like to think there was a little serious message mixed in with that frivolity.

This week is still busy, though; we've had a short cycle for this month's Anarchist Guild Social Committee, so we've been putting hard yards in rehearsing our arses off; its particularly interesting for me because, while I'm not performing in it much, I am directing this month's show, so in a way it'll be a more me show than usual... We'll see how it goes. I'm excited about our guests: we have Die Roten Punkte - who've been getting JJJ airplay! - and my old friend Scott Gooding, whose return to the stage in a one-man sketch comedy show, Eric, was nothing short of a triumph. Plus the usual Anarchist nonsense. For all the stress and occasional confusion, it really is a joyous show to be involved with.

The other surprising news is that I've had a bunch of corporate gig requests come out of nowhere - one for tonight for the CSIRO, one for Thursday at Melbourne Uni (which admittedly was booked six months ago), and one in December on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast! I'm still waiting to find out how they heard of me up there...

But there's no rest for the wicked. Adelaide Fringe registrations closed on Friday, and at the last minute I had to say no to doing a tour at the South Australian Museum, since they wanted to charge me a hire fee, plus the cost of extra security, to use their space - it wasn't tenable with that factored into the budget. I should still be at Adelaide Fringe for the Anarchist Guild, though, and hopefully I'll still do another comedy tour here for Comedy Festival - and I've a new show, or maybe two or three, in the works as well...

So many ideas, so little time!
So: it's a week in to the Adelaide Fringe run of A Record or an OBE. And it's been a bit weird.

For one thing, the audience reaction has been completely different. In Melbourne, the audiences laughed a lot; only a couple latched on to the drama and ignored (or failed to notice) the jokes. Here, our first two audiences were virtually silent. Sadly, this is when the Advertiser came, and it's painfully obvious from the two-star review that our reviewer didn't get any of the humour. Our numbers fluctuated but we managed half houses on average, which isn't bad. But without the little push from a good review - or any comments at all on Fringe forum talkfringe, despite our second night being full of people who got free tickets from the site - numbers are seriously low for next week.

It's not all bad news: the only non-Murdoch paper in town, the Independent Weekly, gave us a lovely review which was printed on Saturday; that, along with putting the show on the 2 for 1 tickets list, got us very good houses considering it was the Womadelaide weekend. I've been playing with The Crew, both in our "Short Order Impro" show (which has been getting steadily bigger crowds), and our team in the local impro competition "Clash of the Theatre Titans", which are both great opportunities to plug the show to large, happy crowds. (We won all three of the competitions, by the way; I got to play a "Thank God You're Here" style scene tonight as our prize, and it was great fun!) Plus The Fix has been looking for editorial content, and will publish a "Top Ten Goodies Moments" article I penned early this week, which is more good publicity.

This city is weird, though. The people are largely lovely and very kind, but the city itself has multiple personality disorder. It's been beautiful: the Northern Lights exhibition, part of the International Arts Festival, is an awe-inspiring installation of art projected onto public buildings. (One of my favourites was the fossils, mostly trilobites and fish, projected onto the Museum - though that's also a reminder that I'll be leaving just before palaeontology week!)

On the flip side, the city's also trying to kill me. It has been stupidly hot every day this week, with the Mercury staying consistently above body temperature. The clear skies explain the heat during the day, but I'm still weirded out by how hot is stays at night. (Our venue The Fridge is very ironically named: it's not the actual fridge, but what seems to have been a loading bay. Unlike the rest of the factory floor there's no insulation or ducting in the roof; it's just a brick box with a tin roof. We've abandoned the jumper and jacket and we're doing the show in rolled up shirt sleeves.) It's also a long way between places, and I've discovered my shoes aren't quite the right size for hours of walking in hot weather...

I have seen some great shows, though. Mostly comedy, stuff I've missed previously or won't get to see in Melbourne, but today I saw Under Milk Wood performed by Guy Masterson with my friend Janine, and it was wonderful.

One week to go!
The sky is clear, there's better beer, in Adelaide.

Thanks Ben Folds. You totally prepared me for Adelaide.

As soon as I stepped off the plane, the place felt familiar. I had, after all, lived here for a month two years ago, and since the Fringe would be happening in all the same places, I already knew my way around. The place I organised for us to stay is on the small side, but not inconvenient; there's a bus that goes from just across the road all the way into the city every 15 minutes on weekdays, and pretty often at other times.

The venue for my show, the Fringe Factory (in the old Balfours Pie Factory), is beautiful; I've taken some photos and I'll put them up soon. My theatre space is wonderful, and I appreciate it all the more after the difficulty one of my friends has had with an independent venue manager who fulfilled none of the promises made in the hire contract. (She's had to find an alternate venue over the last three days, which was only possible because of the wonderful assistance of the Fringe staff.)

If the Factory has a down side, then it's being on the other side of town from the Garden of Unearthly Delights, a carnival style area with multiple venues, rides and sideshow style attractions which is run by independent company Strut 'n' Fret. It's quite a beautiful place to go, and after a shaky start - experienced by the whole Festival as the Clipsal 500 car race had been moved to coincide with the first week - it's at it's usual full capacity, with thousands of people showing up there. Which of course means they're not going to the Fringe Factory, but we'll see if that's picked up post-Clipsal soon.

I've seen a few shows already; mostly stuff I won't get a chance to see again, either because I missed them at other festivals or they'll clash with my schedule at Comedy Festival. I also missed a show today thanks to misreading the address; I didn't realise there'd be another Rundle Street in a suburb outside the CBD!

More soon. The show doesn't open until Tuesday, but the first couple of nights are sold out. Hopefully word of mouth, plus cross-promotion with Rob's other show, will get us some more sales for the rest of the season, which is pretty empty so far. If you know anyone who might be interested, please do tell them about the show! You can find out all the relevant details at my web site.

PS - on the Comedy Festival front, OBE has sold next to nothing but interest in the Museum Tour continues to escalate. I think it'll be a hit.
I know I more or less promised a part two to the last installment, but I've been busy. I will commit that story to screen, though, and soon. But the reason I'm here is more pragmatic.

I've finally got a YouTube video up of one of my shows; it's a 51 second clip from my play, A Record or an OBE, and I think it's a good funny moment that showcases the show well (even if the video quality isn't amazing). I've embedded it below; if you like it, please stick it on your own LJ, your blog, web sites, wherever. There are two seasons of the show coming up, in Adelaide and Melbourne, and the more publicity the better!

More news soon. Promise.

I'm home from the Fringe Awards. My venue, the lovely Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets, won Best Venue. Friends of mine won awards too. But the thing that's keeping me up writing this is that my show, A Record or an OBE, scored a high commendation from the judges in the Comedy category.

See you all soon. I'm going to sleep the sleep of the fucking awesome.
Just a quick note this time - there are three shows left for A Record or an OBE. I don't have many bookings, so there are plenty of tickets left on the door; I'd love it if you came down to check it out. 80 Smith Street, near the corner of Gertrude, 6pm. $10/$5.

See you the other side of Fringe, probably...
So it's production week for my first play, A Record or an OBE. I haven't done the full run-down here yet, and it's time I did, not least because I could use your help. See, publicising a science show is relatively easy - I frequent science blogs and web sites and listen to the podcasts and radio shows. I know where I can send notice of a science show.

But a short, comic play about The Goodies? Well, apart from the fan club - who found me all by themselves - I've no idea. So please, if you know of anyone - or any web site, forum, blog or even radio show - that would be keen to find out about my show, pass on the word. It'd mean a lot. Be sure to include a link to my theatre company web site, Shaolin Punk (and, by the way, head there yourself and vote in the poll for your favourite Goodie).

Shaolin Punk presents
A Record or an OBE

"I'd like to thank the other two Goodies, but I really can't. It would have been so much easier without them." - Bill Oddie, 1997

Where: Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets, 80 Smith Street, Cricklewood Collingwood
When: 6:00 - 6:30pm, October 6 and 9-13. Preview October 5.
Tickets: $10/$5 from, on 03 8412 8777, or at the door
Stuff is happening!

I have moved into my new house. Once the furniture is arranged correctly and the shed of doom (which might contain something the Antique Roadshow would be interested in, and possibly has within its bowels a piece of the one true cross) is emptied to make way for a bit of surplus stuff, it will become the comedy geek bachelor pad of the ages. Yes, I'm living with two of my best geeky comedian mates, and it's working out splendidly.

I also have a show coming in the Melbourne Fringe, and several other projects on the go, though sadly both TheatreGames Live and Planet Nerd have finished. Hopefully Planet Nerd will return next year, but we'll see. I've just recorded a demo of a short musical (not my own work) about Walter "Icepick" Freeman, notorious lobotomist; that will be performed in even more truncated form in the 10-minute play festival Short & Sweet in December.

That, though, is after my current major project, the first under the banner of Shaolin Punk, which I always intended to be the name of my theatre company when I got around to making some theatre. Well, here I am, and my first project is A Record or an OBE, a "what if it all went horribly wrong" story set in 1975, in which Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor have to cope with Bill Oddie having given them the arse to become a rock star.

Guess which of the remaining duo I'll be playing?

I do have another comedy gig coming up, a fund raiser for the RMIT Fine Arts photographic exhibition. It's called Punraiser and it's on September 19 at Roxanne Parlour in the city. Should be a great night out, the line up includes some of my favourite comics.
My Festival highlight so far has to be last week's trivia at Hi-Fi, when I was awarded a prize for being the only person present who knew the name of the dragon who was turned into a horse and travelled with Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy. My reward? A bag of plastic toy ninjas!

The Festival is drawing toward its end, but there's still more than a week left, so here are some shows I've seen and liked which you might like too:

The Debutante Diaries: a one-woman play about the trials and tribulations doing the deb in a country Australia.
Wellington Who: must-see for all Doctor Who fans. I loved it, of course. If you want insight into my childhood, go see it.
Ben Payne in His Yellow Ute: great storytelling fun for parents with young kids.
Lawrence Leung learns to Break Dance: Lawrence tries to figure out what's cool as he tries to do better than his brother. The breakdancing bit is worth the price of admission.
Courteney Hocking is unAustralian: solid stand-up with a political bent.
The Dead Baron: storytelling in character from Mr. Nick; kind of like a cross between Ripping Yarns and Baron Munchausen, but darker.
The Warm Up Guy: also solid standup from a really likeable performer. The gimmick? He's just warming you up for a second-rate chat show.

Don't forget Science-ology is on for another week. Please come, it's a good show. And if you like They Might Be Giants, and want to support the Asylum Seekers Resource Group, then come along to Birdhouse on Saturday night.

Science-ology is coming to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival! Yes, that's right, it's me, in my first Comedy Festival. I can't believe I haven't done it before either, but there you are. Tickets are now on sale, and you can find out more about the show at these fine sites:

I would naturally love it if you would pass on these details to anyone you think would enjoy the show. During the Festival, you can also catch me with the Crew in Triple Trouble, Instant Order: Trial By Audience and Impro Sundae (at the Comedy Festival time of 8:30pm); to find out when, you can check out the Crew's lineups page.
It's been a busy, busy month so far, and it's not going to let up. Is that the way I like it? I think so.

So what's news? I've seen the first two weeks of Short & Sweet's Top 30, and it was...uneven. Do you want to know more...? )

That got quite long. Nice to get it out of my system though. Anyway, my big news is that I've been offered a room at Trades Hall for Comedy Festival, so Science-ology will return in April 2007. Oh yeah! Plus, I'm hosting the first of two Impro Sundae 5pm shows this Sunday. Come on down!
barrington: (Bill Bailey)
Many of you will know that I have recently started performing with impro comedy troupe "The Crew" at their regular weekly gig, Impro Sundae. Well, on June the 25th The Crew will be celebrating its fifth birthday in style...with an IMPRO RUMBLE! Don't ask me how the format works, it's my first time, but defending champion Danny Alder (he's a star, believe me) will be the first improviser to enter the stage, and the rest of us will challenge him for the title.

The birthday will be huge: The Crew has a big line-up of talent, and we'll all end up on that stage at least once in order to celebrate the huge achievement of five years of weekly improvisational hilarity. So come along; and of course there's nothing to stop you coming along any other week either. I may not be on every week, but it's always a blast. And I am performing this Sunday.

The Crew presents
There can be only one...

Sunday June 25 at 8:30pm
Comic's Lounge, Errol Street, North Melbourne
Entry: $10

I really couldn't get my calendar right this weekend. First I thought the Eurovision final was Saturday, not Sunday. Then I thought a friend from out of town was comeing on Sunday night, when in fact it's next weekend. Between that and other plans being changed, it was a chaotic but busy time.

Saturday was, of course, the Zombie Shuffle, and it was awesome. I never planned to zombie up, mainly because I was going to a farewell do for a girl I haven't seen in a couple of years immediately after and it wasn't a crowd or venue open-minded toward alternative unlifestyles, but I was persuaded to come watch and it was enormous fun. Of course I thought of about six ideas for "zombie support" roles once I'd got into the car, including having a cricket bat (Shaun of the Dead style), a microphone (to be the "man on the scene" newscaster: "Amazing scenes in Melbourne today as dead walk the earth!") or my lab coat (and running through the streets warning people not to get bitten, screaming "What have I done?!"). I think I'm better suited to that sort of thing; the shuffle is cool, but horror films and zombies are things I love only because my friends love them so much, so the support role just feels right. Besides, I couldn't compete with the awesome zombiness of [ profile] ejkf, [ profile] paracelsus, [ profile] sly_girl, [ profile] schmycom, [ profile] scoia and all of those who did their country proud by marching, zombie style, through both the Greek Festival and a Bridal Exhibition.

The Raw Comedy final was broadcast on the ABC on Saturday night, and if you saw it I hope you enjoyed Bec Hill; she's a friend of mine and, I think, a wonderful comedian. More than a few critics who reviewed the gig thought she shouldn't have walked away from the competition without at least an honorable mention, though I did think the winners were the best of the rest.

Today I had a lovely afternoon listening to music and then I went to Impro Sundae. This is the longest-running and most successful weekly impro show in Australia, and tonight, after a few weeks of attending the workshops to get my impro mojo working again, I finally got my shot at getting up on stage for the performance. It went really well, with a great crowd (in terms of size and response), and I'm excited about doing it again. Sorry I didn't publicize it, but I only knew I was doing it a couple of hours before I was on and I figured most of your would be watching Eurovision anyway. I'll let you know when I'm on next, probably next week or the week after that.

Oh, and thanks to two lovely ladies I have now discovered Augie March. Wow. They're good.
According to Virgin Blue's web site, the Adelaide Fringe is the second biggest fringe festival in the world. I'm guess Edinburgh gets the gold. Scary. But it also has good things to say about Adelaide Zoo, so I'll be going there. Public Transport in Adelaide seems pretty good, comparable to Melbourne in terms of price at least; they seem to be keen for people to use it, too. They even have trams there. (I think my internal benchmark for civilisation in a city involves trams in some form or another. Yeah, I know. I know.)

The owner of our house is thinking of selling; we've been asked our intentions past the lease. Let's hope he either decides not to sell, or sells to someone who wants to keep renting it, though the chances of the rent not going up by a lot if that happens are probably slim. I was hoping not to move again inside a year, and I really like this place, not to mention living with Darren and Emma...I'll keep my fingers crossed.
If you're free on Thursday night, you might like to come along to...

The Mr Al & Mr Nick Christmas Special!
Featuring: Lawrence Leung, Andrew McClelland, Courtney Hocking, Scott Pollard,
Ben "Man in the Lab Coat" McKenzie and Jess Moir

With your hosts Mr Al & Mr Nick (AKA Alastair Gowing & Nicholas Caddaye)

That's seven comedians (apparently Mr Al & Mr Nick only count themselves as one) performing over 2 hours of comedy, all in aid of sending Mr Al & Mr Nick to the Adelaide Fringe. (You'll have your chance to help send me there a bit later on.) I'm going to try and summarize A Brief History of Time in under 10 minutes, though it may not go according to plan...

When: Thursday 15th December
Where: Vibe (Upstairs) Smith Street, Collingwood
Doors: 7:30pm Show: 8pm
Cost: $10


Oct. 13th, 2005 12:43 pm
While I wait for the dust to settle in the aftermath of Melbourne Fringe 2005, I've not been able to rest; the registration deadline for the Adelaide Fringe is tomorrow, so I've been budgeting, planning, phoning, emailing, wheeling and dealing and working shit out. Adelaide will mark an important milestone for me, since it'll be the first time I've taken any show - let alone my own - on the road, and as we all know, the road is a B-I-itch, my friend. But if I can't make it to Adelaide, then what hope do I have for my dream of doing the great Westward festival tour in Canada next year?

Adelaide is tough for all sorts of reasons; for starters, it's more like the MICF than the Melbourne Fringe, in terms of its scale, audience enthusiasm, number of international acts and, of course, cost. Melbourne Fringe's registration fees are ever increasing, but Adelaide is already equal to the Comedy Festival last year. Then, of course, there's the potential folly of doing a show about evolution in the City of Churches... I'm going to have to work hard for my audience, and factoring in all the extra costs of a season away from home - travel, accommodation, technician and equipment hire - it was looking all but impossible, particularly because I couldn't find a venue that charged less than double what I'm used to paying over here.

Normally of course if your costs go up then so must your ticket prices, but I think there's a ceiling on what Joe Public is willing to pay for an hour's lecture about Darwin and natural selection, so I was despairing of bringing those costs down...until today, when I found the perfect place. The venue sounds like a corker - they're an existing bar who are taking over another, and are keen to get people into their new space - and my budget is a whole lot happier. Once this is all sorted, it's back to job searching and rewriting the show to make it the best it can be, using what I learned on the first run. Oh, and there's next Friday to think about:

The 3rd Annual King Kahuna Ginormous Acoustic Guitar Festival
Friday, October 22nd at 8pm, at Gertrude's on Gertrude Street Fitzroy.
Monique Brumby, Liz Stringer, Rob Longstaff, Chris Matthews and the Melbourne Guitar Quartet, all in one venue, for one night, hosted by yours truly, for just $10 at the door. Rock up, drink up, shut up and listen to some of the sweetest tunes around, plus win fabulous prizes (most likely King Kahuna bean bags).

The road is fucking hard; the road is fucking tough. There's no question that it don't take no guff...
Right, so: two shows left for Evolutionary. One tonight. One tomorrow night. Then there's some partying, followed by sleeping, then some organisation and relaxation and then straight into hardcore efforts to a) find work and b) get myself to Adelaide in February.

Other Fringe shows you should have gone to see include Mr. Al & Mr. Nick: A Fistful of Regret (finishes tomorrow), The Human Layer (finishes tomorrow; two shows tonight), Courtney Hocking's Foolish Ideas and Crackpot Inventions Show (finishes tomorrow), and possibly Art Murder: Pictures of Dorian Gray (last show tomorrow) and Death's Variety Hour (last show tonight), though I've not seen those last two, they're full of people I know. Good luck to everyone in Fringe this year; I hope you at least break even, and that if you do make a profit you don't spend it all on a cast party.

I'd like to apologise for publicly belittling the efforts of Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren, the Australian scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Their discovery of Heliobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcers will of course mean much comfort for countless sufferers around the world, and has undone a great misunderstanding of one of the more common medical conditions. Why they win in 2005 when the original paper was published in 1982 and the link between the bacteria and the conditions officially recognised internationally in 1994 I'm still unsure; it may be that the simple test which now exists was only invented in the last year, and if so then they certainly are worthy of a prize intended for those "who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".
What an awesome night. I'm slightly drunk, so to prevent rambling, the awesomeness comes in point form.

  • Audience of 9 for first night (5 pre-booked paying, 4 comps; venue maximum is 30). All laughed a lot and seemed to really enjoy it, which bodes well. All this time what was missing from the show was only an audience! Frankly I'm incredibly happy about it.
  • Dinner at Viet Rose. Great food there, not too expensive.
  • Fringe Festival Hub opening night party. Great entertainment, great DJ, great people. Drank a little, danced a lot, had an awesome awesome time and just got home 5 minutes ago.
  • I can sleep in tomorrow. Hurrah!

    There's a Shakespeare meme going around where you're supposed to quote Shakespeare if you see someone else do it. No-one's doing sonnets, which is a shame, so here's some of my favourite one, though it's from memory and I could never quite get it right:

    As an unperfect actor on the stage
    Who with his fear is put besides his part
    Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage
    Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart
    So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
    The perfect ceremony of love's rite
    And in my own love's strength seem to decay
    O'ercharged with burden of my love's own might.

    Oh, and in case you didn't notice, I'm only doing 8 performances, so if you're going to come for smeg's sake don't wait until the last week when it'll sell out because everyone who didn't come early tries to make it. Or at least book early for the last week so everyone else will have to come earlier. And if you do come, please check out the other shows on at Glitch, because they seem pretty good (though I've only seen Mr. Al & Mr. Nick, which is, for the record, aaaaaaaaaaawesome).
  • Don't forget about the show:

    Evolutionary: the Man in the Lab Coat Evolved

    Venue: Glitch Bar, 318 St George’s Road, Fitzroy North (Melways 30 C11)
    Dates: 23 September – 8 October, Friday-Sunday (eight shows only!)
    Tickets: $15.00 adult, $12.00 concession
    Times: 7:00pm Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00pm Sundays
    Bookings: Book online here on the Melbourne Fringe web site, or call 8412 8777

    And you should also check out Mr. Al & Mr. Nick: A Fistful of Regret, which is violently funny and on in the same venue on many of the same nights. Stay all night, make a real go of it!

    And just because even now I need a little procrastination... The interests meme. )
    Evolutionary: the Man in the Lab Coat Evolved

    The Man in the Lab Coat is Back, and this time, he's a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, and a whole lot smarter. Join him as he takes you on the Great Journey of Life and explains just how it is that we all lost our little tails evolving up from little snails...

    Venue: Glitch Bar, 318 St George’s Road, Fitzroy North (Melways 30 C11)
    Dates: 23 September – 8 October, Friday-Sunday (eight shows only!)
    Tickets: $15.00 adult, $12.00 concession
    Times: 7:00pm Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00pm Sundays
    Bookings: Book online here on the Melbourne Fringe web site, or call 8412 8777

    February 2012

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