Tuesday, March 8, 2011




Carry On Tent


7pm nightly til Mar 12

It could have so easily been a disaster. In front of his biggest crowd of his run so far, Tom Binns walked on stage and into potential disaster. There is a loud buzzing noise “Is that the PA?” asks fantastically realized hapless character Ivan Brackenbury, no it’s crickets. It’s a funny moment. However it becomes apparent immediately after this that his vital laptop is not making any noise. There then follows ten minutes of faffing about with flat batteries and lost screws, with audience members on their hands and knees helping in the search. Binns stays in character saying things like “I know some of you might think this is part of the show….but it’s not.” And most amusingly “I’m going to run over and the after me will kill me. Somehow. The guy after me is played by the same guy who plays me.”. A reference to his other Fringe show Ian D Montfort : Spirit Medium which plays directly after Brackenbury.

Australia doesn’t have hospital DJ’s, but in the UK it has been an institution for decades. In-house radio stations designed to raise the spirits of the patients. Often hospital radio DJs used to be on ‘proper’ radio or be club DJs but are a bit past their used by date. Ivan Brackenbury hosts Disease Hour, and is pretty consistent and playing the most inappropriate song for any occasion.

“This goes out to Tom, he’s got enormous sticky out ears. He’s having them pinned back. He’s a huge fan of Simple Red” (cue: Holding Back the Years – sing it to yourself – see where we are going with this?). And it’s an hour of those sort of super funny gags, quick fire, hilarious and often didn’t see it coming punch lines. His station IDs are priceless “Ivan Brackenbury – reaching out and touching patients.” His celebrity endorsements have to be heard to be believed. At one point after a ID from Mr T (yep the real one) Ivan shrugs and says “He had no idea what this was. I’m not even real. In real life I’m not even bothered about that cricket.”. It’s a great character, with his tracksuit pants and baseball cap, gormless enthusiasm and a great line in misread dedications. Mostly I can’t tell you the kind of jokes you’ll hear, for fear of spoiling a show you really should get to. Song you may never hear the same way include Torn Between Two Lovers, Solid as a Rock and Mambo Number 5 (a joke so good I am laughing again while typing this. Laughs per minute one of the best all Fringe. It’s on early (7pm) so you could go after work and still make it home early. You should go. He’ll make you feel like ….”a winnnnnerr!”.

Monday, March 7, 2011




La Cascadeur

Garden of Unearthly Delights


Til March 13th.

Sammy J and his felt faced friend Randy (Heath McIvor) have delivered one of the best shows of the Fringe with Bin Night. So much more than a stand-up show its combination of comedy, songs, slap-stick and theatre is break-neck fast, smart and really bloody funny. Sammy J and Randy are out to catch whoever it is from their neighbourhood who is putting stuff in their wheelie bin on Bin night. They examine the suspects profiles (including some fantastically funny cameos from McIvor), and rehearse the reaction times to the arrival and identification of the criminal (council by-laws are not to be messed with) Impressive use of their simple set, and a rapid fire delivery of quality gags and story are absolutely world class. McIvor’s skills as a puppeteer in bringing Randy to life are incredible; creating a well rounded and nuance enhanced personality to the puppet. These skills have seen him work with the legendary Jim Henson Company and deservedly so. Masterfully written, spectacularly performed this run of Bin Night has routinely been selling out, but extra shows have been added – you won’t be sorry.

Ian Bell

Thursday, March 3, 2011




Rhino Room Upstairs

8:30pm til March 12 (no Sun or Mon)

Hannah Gadsby has all the hallmarks of a world class, gifted and classic stand up comedian. She looks funny. She is whip smart. She has immaculate timing. She is a great comedic writer. She has a completely captivating way with her well constructed stories that are often at her own expense. From the moment she hits the stage she has the whole audience in the palm of her hand. Which, considering much of the show concerns her awkward social skills and desire to spend time alone, makes you wonder why pick such a public and often brutal career. The answer is simple; Gadsby was born to be a comedian. Like last years Cliff Young Shuffle, Mrs Chuckles has Gadsby proving the adage ‘Comedy is truth plus pain’ and serves up a beautiful dish of her insecurities, longings and failings. Along the way she takes you on a well rounded and hilarious journey. What do you do when the object of your desires turns out to be weirder than you thought you were yourself? Hannah has an incredible comedic weapon in her arsenal too. She can break up a room with the tiniest facial expression. A crooked smile, a blink or a raised eyebrow. It’s a skill Barry Humphreys uses to perfection, and Gadsby's deadpan delivery means when she pulls these considered facial treats out, we are richly rewarded. It’s a fantastic hour to spend with one of this countries finest talents.




Rhino Room (upstairs)

6pm til March 12

Adelaide girl turned Melbourne girl, turned UK girl, comedian BEC HILL is the loveliest comedian in the world. She is as cute as. She greets each audience member whilst acting as her own ticket collector before taking to the stage for a show about the struggle between becoming an adult and not wanting to. It’s a struggle we all have at some stage, some of us put up more of a fight than others. Miss Hill is putting up quite a fight as she struggles with her responsibilities, talks back to her own voice of reason, and uses a number of unique tools to help her investigate this age old dilemma. These tools include a game of ‘Horoscope or Disease’ with the audience and a number of hilarious animated sketchbook drawings. It’s a fantastic device to use what is basically children’s pop-up book technology to help investigate becoming an adult. From a talking Johnny Depp face kissing an audience member to the stunning finale (not telling – must see!) Bec Hill is enchanting. She has wonderful material, warm and attractive stage presence and the whole show is buckets of fun. It’s on pretty early (6pm) upstairs at Rhino, but go straight from work and you’ll be going home afterwards thinking of reasons to bunk off from the office tomorrow and go to the playground instead.


DCB + Guy Pratt, tackling Paul Simons Call Me Al. Adelaide Fringe 2011.




Have I made it perfectly clear how much i like DEAD CAT BOUNCE yet? Well I do. If I could book them to play at every significant event for the rest of my life i would do so. Both of their shows are amazing (even better now the sound in the Excess tent at Gluttony has been fixed - now you can hear all the jokes!). Bootlegs is such massive fun. It's a tough night to do it Mondays at 10:30pm. It is a school night after all, but seriously if you love music and love to dance make a date for this Monday (March 7th) - Last one boys and girls. Last Monday the tent was rocking from the get go and they had a couple of special guests joining them on-stage. Long time PINK FLOYD bass player GUY PRATT , a man who has played with Madonna, Michael Jackson and countless others, is also doing a show down at Gluttony. He joined Jimmy, Mick, Damien and Shane for a killer version of Sugarhill Gangs Rappers Delight for which Shane took lead vocals (with lyrical assistance from his iPhone). See attached video!

Later on during the fantastic set of mash-up party songs, Pratt came on stage to collect his bass, but was convinced to do a second number, so while they played a funky version of Call Me Al, Shane was basically ejected from the band for the duration. They debuted a brand new mash up which was mind-blowing. A mixture of Thunderstruck, Standing In The Way of Control, Bonkers & Barbara Streisand. It was At the end of the show the man who fixed the PA, a friend of the band from Scotland took over on the drums and Damo lead the band through an INCREDIBLE version of Killing In The Name Of. So impressive was it that Mr Pratt, who has seen some top notch things in his time, was at the front applauding screaming "THAT WAS AMAZING!". It is the best party in town and I can't begin to tell you just how much fun you will have if you get to Gluttony on Monday for their final Bootlegs session for the Fringe. Be there.




The Cupola

Garden of Unrearthly Delights.

9:30pm til March 13 (no Mondays)

Last Fringe, Smart Casual’s Same Mother, Different Father was a real favourite of mine. It was a little rough around the edges but it was a good solid show, great songs, funny if not fantastic storyline. So I had high hopes for this year’s Smart Casual show The Story of Captain Entrée. It starts off promisingly enough, on the premise that Fletcher Jones and Roger David had spent 2010 touring to huge comedy arenas and need a change of pace. After a chance meeting with the mysterious Captain Entrée (voiced by Dave Callan) they decide to join his crew and sail the world in search of adventure. Sadly the ‘dick cheese’ gag early on was an indication that this nautical tale was about to go severely off course and into stormy waters. There were some great gags, great prop work (the endless props with the next chapter title on them were brilliant), but the songs largely fall flat and the story is tracing-paper thin. I would hope that as the run continues they will tweak and adjust the show. Some great swells of laughter, but too many flat seas with no gales (of laughter) to propel this comedy ship.




Producers Bar / The Old Exchange

10pm til March 12 (Wed – Sat)

The Old Exchange? Where the hell is that? It turns out the venue is (formerly) The Electric Light Hotel, which was formerly The Producers, which was formerly The Old Exchange Hotel. Grenfell Street, up from The Cranker, on the right before you get to Gluttony. You’re a grown up, you’ll find it!

Performed in a fairly cavernous room with some jazz rock fusion band thumping through the wall (causing a little distraction), Adelaide stand-up’s ANGUS HODGE and CHRIS KNIGHT’s listing in the guide says they are “on a quest to find one good joke, until a portal in space complicates thing”. The suggestion that a one-hour comedy show is going to contain only one good joke isn’t very encouraging. Thankfully their batting average is much better than that. As a means of dressing up two solid stand-up sets from Hodge and Knight, the whole “time portal” thing is pretty clunky. In fact the premise on the night is more that Chris Knight has abused a time portal and keeps doing the same show over and over again to get it right – the quest for ‘one good joke’ is not mentioned at all.

Produced on a shoestring, the staging and script often have issues, but on a couple of occasions they provided huge laughs that I suspect weren’t in the script. Knight stumbling through the ‘portal’ (the curtains) in a particularly un-elegant fashion was one. And when Hodge berates the lighting tech for a late lighting cue, she (Hodge’s girlfriend as it happens) gets the biggest laugh of the night by killing the lights altogether. It was really funny and they should keep it in the show. Clumsy theatrics aside both Hodge and Knight are very likable performers with solid material and good laughs aplenty.





Rhino Room

10pm til March 12

Big Love, Fleet tells us on opening night, is an experimental show. Everything is cool. If you want to get up and go to the bar or the loo, nobody is going to pick on you. If you want to say something in the chat sections go right ahead. “It’s all about the love”. The format is ‘chat show with guests’ so how it goes is up to the guests and us, the audience. So far, so good. Mick Moriarty (Gud/Gadflys) arrives and sings a great song. Then he and Fleet sing a very amusing song about treefrogs, and things are looking great. Fleet announces their first guest is Fiona O’Loughlin who does ten or fifteen minutes of material about growing up in rural Australia and being homophobic until she was in her late 20’s; then proceeds to tell highly homophobic jokes. I find it incredibly tedious when comedians use the tool of saying “isn’t it terrible when people are homophobic when they say things like ‘fill-in-homophobic-joke’”. You are still doing that material. It’s still offensive. It’s still homophobic.

But wait, there’s more. “My grandmother is so racist.” continues O’Loughlin [insert a number of racist jokes]. When she finishes, she sits in the guest area while Fleet and Moriaty do a fantastic ‘Noir Detective’ song. Okay, back on track.

Enter second guest, Lawrence Mooney, who gets on stage and wants to tell ‘hilarious’ stories about getting wasted with reformed drug addict Fleet and reformed alcoholic O’Loughlin. “Remember that night we got wasted on that acid?” Fleet, Moriarty and McLaughlin roar laughing ‘Oh yeah, that was awesome’ and it quickly degenerates to a bunch of semi-retired party animals telling stories about their glory days of bad drug behaviour, which left much to be desired as stand-up. Eventually Mooney decides to do some material, and seems to take O’Loughlin’s lead and plunges straight into even worse racist jokes, dropping racial slurs like they were going out of fashion (which incidentally, they have). I hasten to add that my disdain at this kind of material was not shared by some members of the audience, who howled at both guests, with one woman behind me in fits at every new questionable term dropped. So, as comedy is completely subjective, and some people dig that kind of comedy and that kind of comedian, I acknowledge not everyone was offended. But both guests left me cold. I couldn’t say if Mooney or O’Loughlin do shows that revolve solely around this kind of material, I don’t intend to find out.

Given the stated intent of the show (‘It’s all about the love’), to have both guests doing such hateful material didn’t work for me at all. I did however enjoy everything Fleet and Moriarty did and suspect that on a different night, with a different line-up, it really could be quite the magical love-fest we were promised at the start.

Ian Bell

Wednesday, March 2, 2011




Excess tent


9:15pm Tues – Sat

8:15pm Sun-Mon

Til March 13th (no Wed)

Irish four-piece comedy rock band, DEAD CAT BOUNCE made their first trip to Australia last year and they were an instant sensation at the Adelaide Fringe & Melbourne Comedy Festivals. It was a sensation that was well deserved. Great musicians, fantastically well realised stage personas, and above all else, really funny songs. This time around front-man Jim is keen to let us know they are more than just a ‘joke’ band: “We are more like a concept rock band” he says before being comprehensively contradicted by Shane, Damian and Mick (“More like a gag band, aren't we?”). This does not stop them launching into The Weeping of the Willows, a Springsteen-esque tale of Reagan-era America told through the lens of Wind In The Willows. Next up is Christians in Love, a song so packed with fantastic gags about the wedding night of a Christian couple, you’ll have to buy a CD on the way out to catch them all. My favourite line is:

“Like a chimpanzee in a buffet cart, They’re grabbing at things before they know what they are, and seeing if they can fit them in their mouths.”

I really wanted them to rush down to the Garden the other night and sing this to the God-Botherers that were protesting at the gates. With the exception of three songs (including the brilliant Switzerland) from last year, it’s all new material. My Party Now is an examination of all the ways people can mess up a perfectly good party.

Shane takes lead vocals for This Wolf Howls Alone, which is plenty funny, but the sight of Mick pulling baby wolf faces while playing the drums is completely priceless. There’s a drug fuelled song wondering if Pigeons & Pirates are the same thing because ‘They both often have one leg’ and ‘If you put their head under their wing they go to sleep’. But I can’t even tell you the names of my two favourite songs, for fear of spoiling the jokes, but rest assured, the last two songs in the set are flipping classics. I’ve made no secret how much I loved these guys last year, as they press all my buttons. Music, comedy, musical comedy. Great songs played with sniper-tight precision.

On Sunday evening they had a special guest with Tom Binns doing 15 minutes of his Ivan Brackenbury show which kept the entire DCB audience in stitches.

DEAD CAT BOUNCE sure fire winners, if you see only one show this Fringe see this one – Twice!

Ian Bell