Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Having a yarn with Welcome to Patchwork

Dion, Christian, special guest Sammy J, and Josh
Just over three years ago, three friends decided to get together and talk about finding the perfect hairdresser and the right level of chat that one should have during their haircut. Since then, Christian Pisasale, Dion Factor and Josh Porter have presented their fortnightly podcast Welcome to Patchwork where they discuss life's everyday issues and concerns, like can you refuse to catch up with a new friend, should you take the elevator to the first floor and how many biscuits should you eat in one sitting? Nominated for Best Comedy at the Australian Podcast Awards for the last two years, Welcome to Patchwork has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

"It's a strange thought to have expected people we didn't know to listen to something we produced," Pisasale tells me. "One thing we were (and are) conscious of is the optic of being three heterosexual white males from Melbourne doing a podcast. For us, creating this was an outlet. We marketed it to our friends who we knew would enjoy the show and had similar, hyper granular observations about their lives. We've been fortunate to have incredibly supportive people around us who encouraged us to produce more content and who distributed our content to their friends. From that point on, our growth has been pretty organic."

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Cooped-Up Cabaret

With performance venues in Melbourne currently closed, cabaret and burlesque artist/producer Sophie deLightful, has found a way of bringing the magic of live performance to the people while providing financial support to artists during this incredibly difficult period. Cooped-Up Cabaret: A Live Stream Variety Show is a fortnightly live-action event presented in a digital landscape. By purchasing a $15 registration, viewers gain access via Zoom and interact with each other and the performers through its chat function. As one registration link is valid for a household to watch, they are encouraged to use the money saved to tip performers via PayPal, if they are in a position to do so. 

With the sudden loss of employment for herself and fellow artists, deLightful had to get inventive with how she could earn an income. "The effect of COVID-19 on the arts sector was virtually immediate and I lost entire bookings which paired with the uncertainty of my foreseeable future. I started seeing performers offer their work online: bands playing a set, variety shows pieced together with pre-recorded acts and other more complex multi-location concerts and all of it was free," she tells me. "I became determined to create a concept that paid beyond sporadic donations, placing value on the arts and activating the community I knew was out there that's passionate about being part of a cabaret show."

Friday, 10 April 2020

Going Method with Elliot Roberts

Meet Simon Hammersmith. The University student theatre veteran is busily preparing for the lead role in an upcoming production of The Crucible. But Simon is not your typical university theatre performer. He is a committed actor who takes his role extremely serious, and in a new six-part series, Method Actor, we are drawn into Simon's world as he contends with fully inhabiting this complex and flawed characters. 

Of course, Method Actor is a fictional comedy series with its creator, Elliot Roberts stating that it were his experiences through studying theatre and performing that revealed a reoccurring theme coming from actors, including himself, that he wanted to explore. "I’ve noticed more and more that, particularly for male actors, the crazier you prepare for a role the more it’s accepted as serious art. There’s a lot of merit in using method acting but there aren’t any boundaries for it and because it’s male movie stars, they often get away with whatever they want. Not to mention it’s mostly used as a marketing tool to win awards. It’s kind of gross and bizarre," he says.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Gretchen - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

What are you supposed to do when your friends, family and the general population all seem to like your british shorthair cat more than you? Well if you're Clara Cupcakes, you make a show about it. The multi-disciplined, multi-award nominated comedian is taking audiences on an absurdly surreal trip with her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Gretchen.

Considering how much of a fun loving bubble of energy and positivity Clara is, it's surprising to hear that her cat receives more attention than her. So, who exactly is Gretchen? "Gretchen is my horrible, no good, grumpy and adorable cat whom I adore despite her being utterly awful," she admits. "I’m making a show about her because she is infinitely more popular than I am so I’m giving the people what they want. It’s honestly ridiculous. Both my housemate and I get more engagement on photos and videos when we post content of Gretchen than any of our own work. I was in Perth recently and I had a drag queen that I don’t even know rush up to me and ask “WHO IS LOOKING AFTER GRETCHEN?!”."

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Scandal! A Reflection on Essendon’s Doping Saga: The Musical? - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

For a country that prides itself on sport, particularly football, the doping scandal that plagued the AFL in 2013 was a devastating blow to the nation. After being investigated by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the World Anti-Doping Agency over the legality of its supplements program during the 2012 AFL season, the Essendon Football Club was fined $2 million, banned from the 2013 finals series, and suspended its senior coach and general manager. They're the perfect ingredients to create a musical comedy out of right? Well Kit Richards seems to think so with her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Scandal! A Reflection on Essendon’s Doping Saga: The Musical? 

After being nominated for the Golden Gibbo and Green Room Awards in 2019 for Wool! The Musical, Richards is looking forward to tackling this scandal, and while it might be very different to the wool industry, the two are more closely linked than you'd think. "I recently bought an Essendon guernsey that was made out of Merino wool and the tag on it said ‘Australian Rules Football and the wool industry are knitted together geographically, socially and financially’ so I guess it was fate!" she tells me. "Seriously though, the history of wool was a topic that had plenty of comedic potential but I always like to grow and develop as a writer so I thought it would be interesting to tackle something I don’t find funny. In that way, that was a natural progression but to outsiders, it’s probably a bit of a leap."

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Lousical the Musical - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

As someone who thrives on being meticulously organised and methodical on finishing tasks, the description for Lou Wall's Melbourne International Comedy Festival show sent shivers running down my spine. In 18 years, Wall as amassed an unfinished to-do list of 923 items. And they have been haunting her. In Lousical the Musical, she sets about finally checking these items off her list.

The number might be extreme, but Wall assures me that it is not as horrific as I imagine it to be and she is optimistic of culling the list down to zero. "I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds! I have been making to-do lists since 2002 - when I was 5 years old. So naturally there are lists from the early 2000s that have totally meaningless tasks on them such as “find a toy for show and tell” and “pray for grandma”," she recalls. "Then I’d say there are roughly 500 tasks that I haven’t completed but are no longer relevant, for example from Year 12: “Get a 99 ATAR” and “research biomed uni courses”. That leaves me with 200-ish left to get done – I will be completing all of these in the show. Although this seems as if it's a super chaotic existence, I am a perfectionist and I strive towards a high level of organisation, at any one time I don’t think I’d have more than 10 pressing things to do."

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Shark Heist - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

If you've never attended a Cam Venn show, you are definitely in for a wild ride. If you have, you may have an inkling of what's coming, but even then you should proceed with caution. Returning with a new show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Golden Gibbo Winner presents an action-packed tale revolving around a precious jewel, a killer shark and a retired thief back for one final job to beguile his audience with. Welcome to Shark Heist.

Shark Heist is your archetypal hero’s journey of an ex-thief doing one last heist to try and get his best friend, a great white shark, back," Venn tells me. "An audience member described it to me as “like recreating the movie you just saw in the lounge room with your mates” and I love that. There's plenty to be entertained with, and you can expect lasers, intense montages to music, and the world’s biggest diamond."