Gods of Egypt Review: Gold-polished Turd


Director: Alex Proyas

Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless

Stars: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung

gods-of-egypt-new-poster-389x600


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributors: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate 

Countries: USA, Australia

Running time: 127 minutes


1½/5

Review: Gods of Egypt

Tim Rogers & the Bamboos @ Chevron Festival Gardens


twe-timrogers

Review: Tim Rogers & the Bamboos @ Chevron Festival Gardens

Hail, Caesar! Review: Ode to Old School


Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel & Ethan Coen

Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes

hail-caesar-poster


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 106 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: Hail, Caesar!

Zoolander 2 Audio Review: Model Idiots


Director: Ben Stiller

Writers: Ben Stiller, John Hamburg, Nicholas Stoller, Justin Theroux

Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell

Zoolander-2-Posters


Release date: February 12th, 2016

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 102 minutes


1½/5

Review:

Trumbo Audio Review: Writer’s Block


Director: Jay Roach

Writers: John McNamara (screenplay), Bruce Cook (book)

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K.

TRUMBO-Movie-Poster


Release date: February 18th, 2016

Distributor: Bleecker Street

Country: USA

Running time: 124 minutes


3/5

Review:

Ride Along 2 Audio Review: Ice-cold Hart


Director: Tim Story

Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Stars: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong

ridealong


Release date: February 18th, 2016 

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 101 minutes


2½/5

Review:

Concussion Audio Review: Down for the Count


Director: Peter Landesman

Writers: Peter Landesman (screenplay), Jeanne Marie Laskas (article)

Stars: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks

Concussion-Movie-Poster


Release date: January 18th, 2016

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 122 minutes


2/5

Review:

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Audio Review: Total Bay-hem


Director: Michael Bay

Writers: Chuck Hogan (screenplay), Mitchell Zuckoff (book)

Stars: James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini, Dominic Fusuma

13_Hours_poster


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 144 minutes


3/5

Review:

Brooklyn Audio Review: Across the Pond


Director: John Crowley

Writers: Nick Hornby (screenplay), Colm Toibin (novel)

Stars: Saorise Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent

2015_-_Brooklyn_Movie_Poster


Release date: January 11th, 2016

Distributors: Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Lionsgate 

Countries: UK, Ireland, Canada

Running time: 112 minutes


4/5

Review:

Review: Black Mire – Lonely the Brave


Lonely-The-Brave

Review: Black Mire – Lonely the Brave

Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre


hamlet-4

Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre

Article: Places to Shop – Dunn & Walton


DSC_0031

Article: Places to Shop – Dunn & Walton 

Review: Circus Freak Show @ Circus Theatre, Perth Cultural Culture


Zap Circus’ Circus Freak Show, on Valentine’s Day, turned Fringe World’s Circus Theatre into a gothic, visceral ballerina music box. Endless smoke machine puffs and sonic chanting brought the audience into the weird and wacky minds of Perth performers Rusty and Tarabelle. Stepping out in Harley Quinn-esque attire, the two set the tone. Describing the differences between stunts and tricks, they saw fit to “juxtapose the playful nature of circus”.

939337_origMake no mistake, a visceral circus and sideshow experience and NOT a magic show.The seceding hour bent the laws of physics, warped the mind, and twisted each audience member’s stomach. Rusty, sporting a bright, red mohawk, kicked off proceedings with machete juggling mayhem. The laid-back performer off-set opening-night nerves, launching into witty repartee and kooky puns. Walking over a terrified audience member, a blindfolded Rusty juggled three machetes with flawless precision.

Rusty and Tarabelle, switching from charming performers to ominous hosts, added to the alluring sideshow atmosphere and darkly slick sense of humour. Amped up by a thumping electronica/rock score, Tarabelle’s 10 LED-hula hoop routine highlighted the performer’s undeniable core strength and creativity. Rusty upped the ante, wowing many crowd members and disturbing others by hammering a nail into his nose. As it was pulled out by a concerned audience member, the artist’s pithy, risqué comments alleviated the tension.

Rusty and Tarabelle poked fun at their own thesis, weaving light-hearted tricks (balancing brooms, pretending to swallow balloons, making objects disappear etc.) with solid comic timing. The contortion routine showcased the pair’s extraordinary acrobatic skills and cooperation. Despite slight slip-ups, the two leaped on and over one another seamlessly. Tarabelle delivered the show’s standout routine, fitting the herself through a hoop and tennis racquet before bending over backwards into a glass box.

Circus Freak Show’s climax took the routine to new, unpredictable heights. Rusty, lowering his back into a vicious-looking bed of nails, waited tentatively as Tarabelle gained enough balance to stand on top of him. Covered in puncture wounds, Rusty sprung to his feet with a beaming smile for the show’s final act. Reiterating the stunts-are-100%-real mantra, the pair concluded their bewildering performance with an intensifying fire-eating routine.

Unphased by dangerous feats, the pair proved the difference between true stunt-work and magic. Circus Freak Show is a jaw-dropping, fascinating Fringe spectacular not for the faint-hearted.

Photo credit: Wayrehouse Photographics

Review: Diana Krall @ Kings Park


dianakrall_kingspark

Review: Diana Krall @ Kings Park

Fringe World Interview: Ruven Govender of Comedy Boxing


South African-Indian comedian Ruven Govender is crafting a strong, influential career in stand-up comedy. The comic kicked off his career from an early age, sneaking in to comedy clubs at 16 and 17 years of age before finally being allowed in through the front door. His love of stand-up blossomed, graduating from the Class Comedians program with enough confidence and support to succeed. By 21, he had written and performed 5 shows for the NZ Comedy Festival.

Along with touring solo throughout Australia and the world, invited to TED X last year amongst many phenomenal successes throughout his career, Govender runs Laugh Mob Entertainment with tour mates/co-stars Sam Kissajukian and Kyle Legacy. After hit show The Black, The White, The Beard, Govender and co. return to Perth’s Fringe World 2016 with Comedy Boxing. Govender referees as Kissajukian and Legacy go head to head in a battle of scathing insults. The show puts the ‘punch’ back into ‘punchline’ over several nights of colourful, unique Fringe mayhem.

Reshoot & Rewind recently caught up with Govender about Comedy Boxing, life on the road, and the comedy’s scene’s welcoming aura.

 

9657547How did you first get into stand-up comedy? 

I got selected by the New Zealand Comedy Festival in 2004 through the Class Comedians program. The first gig I thought went horribly but I actually got signed to an agency after my first ever spot in the town hall. Charlie Pickering, the guy who used to be on the 7pm Project, he was actually my mentor and helped me write my first set and get my jokes out.

I got on stage, delivered my lines, and got these massive laughs straight away. I did the first few lines, got big laughs, and got really nervous because I didn’t expect such a wave of laughter. Then, I just forgot everything that I was supposed to say within the first 30 seconds. I then ran off stage and threw up. Everyone was like: “ok, that’s the end of that” and thought I had to get back on to finish my set and save face.

I got some really good gigs to begin with, but the age factor really caught up quickly. It was a challenge to be 16-17 and try to get into a comedy bar, and obviously wasn’t 18 years of age. That actually proved to be a huge problem, but once I was able to walk into pubs, bars, and clubs that’s when things really started to kick.

 

What have been some of the highlights and lowlights of performing on stage?

Last year, I was invited to speak at TED X. That was fantastic, it was 1000 people in an auditorium and an absolutely great gig, that was probably the highlight of last year I’d say.

A low point would probably include when I ventured out of New Zealand, which is a nice, little environment for stand-up, and into a market where I wasn’t well know, didn’t have connections, and didn’t have the backing of the New Zealand festivals. That was when I really got a taste of what it’s like to really do stand-up – hustle for gigs, having to beg, steal and borrow for stage time. That’s when I really got to understand how difficult it can be for comedy, because apart from that everything was kind of handed to me on a silver platter.

Coming into a market where nobody knew my name and no one was willing to really help me that was a big challenge. It’s a necessary evil to get me to start my own rooms, get a set-up, and hold hands with other comedians and local people.

 

Yourself, Sam Kissajukian, and Kyle Legacy run Laugh Mob Entertainment and perform together, how did you first realise your dynamic worked so well?

I actually found Kyle Legacy at a comedy club, I just found him to be a very funny human. I was surprised because I thought: “You’re very funny, you’re English etc.”, but he wasn’t getting any stage time. I saw him at a few clubs, he wasn’t going well, and I had a chat with him about what he’d done, where he’d been. I found out he was a writer for Russell Brand, he was on season 1 of Brand X and junior writer for Brand in that season.

As we did the rounds of the open-mic rooms I bumped into Sam. Was very much anti-working with anyone else, he didn’t want to work with anyone else, and wanted to his own thing. Myself and Kyle thought he was really funny, had a lot of doubts, was very intelligent. He had started comedy after us but got very good very quickly, and I thought: “This guy is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with”. We started to gig more, wore him down a little bit, and morphed into us three working as a very well-oiled, comedic trio.

 

What can you tell us about your latest Fringe world show, Comedy Boxing?

4790497Comedy Boxing is probably one of the most hilarious, ridiculous shows I have ever seen. Part of running our own agency is, Laugh Mob, is having the creative freedom to do these really wacky shows. If we were assigned to one of the other agencies, we probably wouldn’t have as much creative freedom. The show is basically Sam and Kyle full-on insulting each other in a structured format, which is the best thing. It’s pretty much the ‘why’ of Fringe and it’s just entertaining watching them insult each other.

Now, we have managed to put that format into a structure that everyone can enjoy. The biggest part of the stand-up is making it contextual to the crowd, generally, if people thought they were up there just insulting each other, people would think they weren’t friends and didn’t actually like each other. It’s quite the opposite, all three of us are best friends, and now Comedy Boxing has allowed a format that contextualises that for the audience and that’s why it’s so funny.

 

Diversity in mainstream media has been in the spotlight recently, where do you see this conversation going over the next year?

You’ve got key people that are really pushing for that, people like Kevin Hart – you’ve got people touring and working a lot harder at these things to breach those barriers. I think the non-white market for comedy is ready to explode and ripe for the picking. Seeing people like Kevin Hart, to me personally, is a massive inspiration. Seeing a short, black man go out there and do it and everyone love him gives me enough confidence to think that there is a market for it.

I feel I have a lot of this advantage in the comedy scene – people want to laugh at the racial stuff and when I get up there, whether I want to make fun of Indians or Africans whomever it may be, being South African I feel I may have the range to do that. Having that generally separates me from the crowd, when you go to a comedy club 99% of time it’s single, middle-class white guys complaining about stuff. The more diversity that you add to that I think separates you from the pack and elevates you from the crowd.

 

Comedy Boxing hits The Hidden Bar, Northbridge for Perth’s Fringe World 2016 from February 12th – 21st.

Photo credits: YouTube, Laugh Mob Entertainment

Fringe World Interview: Sam Kissajukian of Animals Attack Me


Sam Kissajukian has led an interesting life, a series of wacky events leading him from ambitious traveller to real ‘stand-up’ guy. The comic, spurred on by those around him, first stepped on stage three years ago. Telling of his experiences with animals, his stories of danger and curiosity quickly gained traction in Sydney’s comedy circuit.

From that first stage experience to today, Kissajukian regularly performs stand-up, long-form storytelling, and emcee work in Sydney. The comic, along with hosting two weekly comedy shows Live Baha and POS Comedy, is an essential part of Laugh Mob Entertainment. He, teaming up with fellow comics Ruven Govender and Kyle Legacy, is fast becoming a staple of Australian and world stand-up.

Kissajukian, fresh off the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe, is back in Perth for Fringe World 2016. His latest one-man show, Animals Attack Me, tells of life-threatening run-ins with Mother Nature’s most dangerous creations including Sharks, baboons, log-throwing chimpanzees, mountain lions, and the most fearsome of all – ex-girlfriends. This month, Kissajukian delivers seven nights of big laughs and valuable lessons for audience members great and small.

Reshoot & Rewind caught up with Kissajukin about his new show, burgeoning career, and awkward encounters with the animal kingdom.

download

When did you realise you wanted to do comedy as a career?

That was actually after I started doing comedy, and fell into it accidentally. The show that i do is about being attacked by a lot of animals, so before I did comedy i was 27 and over the last 10 years I’ve been travelling and going on adventures. Just before I turned 27, we went to a storytelling competition, my girlfriend and I. Someone had dropped out, and she goes: “No, you should go in it, you should go in it”. The organizer was then like: “yeah we can put one more on”.

I went up and told a story about the time I got chased by a baboon with a machete and another time I got attacked by two sharks whilst spear fishing. I ended up coming second in the competition and then people invited me to do other storytelling nights. Then some said I should do stand up comedy and I started doing stand up and after I did that I thought: “This is great, I should just tell stories about my life”, and now it’s three years later and what I do for a living.

 

After your first few times on-stage, did you immediately adapt to it or did it get easier over time?

When I first started I started telling animal attack stories and that was great. Then I thought in stand-up comedy you’ve got to tell jokes, so I started writing jokes and went badly for a couple and then I got the hang of it. For the last two and a half years, it’s been pretty steadily increasing I definitely feel like I was more naturally a storyteller than a joke writer so its natural. I like telling long stories to pull people in, but now I do both – I do the stand-up comedy clubs and personal story shows.

 

What are your most alarming experiences in stand-up comedy?

I’ve had some great ones, one time I did a show, the audience didn’t like me, and I said: “If you guys don’t like me, I’m just going to subject you to dad jokes”. A woman yelled out: “No need, mate. You are your dad’s joke”. I thought that wa a fantastic heckle.

I had one that was very unfortunate, because it almost hurt me. It was in Newcastle, and the audience didn’t like me. I may have made a comment that the audience didn’t like and a woman at the back of the audience threw a bottle at me while I was on stage. It ended up being in the newspaper and became a bit of a hoo-hah, it was quite funny. Lucky it didn’t hit me. It still had beer in it, she threw a full beer at me.

 

You have toured across Australia and the world, how do the varying crowds and comedy atmospheres compare?

I spent a month in Edinburgh last year, I think it depends on the local audiences. Scottish people are so funny, they really are so funny and they’re so vocal and outspoken. I got a lot of heckles when I was in Scotland but they were great heckles. They were just so on point, so funny, and the Scottish people in general were just up for a laugh. There is just a real, fun drunk energy.

In another way, in somewhere like Hong Kong, that’s really interesting too because it’s such an international city. You get people who are expats, so I found that in Hong Kong it was like the comedians that did very well there spoke a lot about different races and sub-cultures in that respect. That seems to be the focus, somewhere like the Melbourne Comedy Festival that type of comedy doesn’t seem to as prevalent.

tumblr_inline_niei44lLdn1t4dk12

How do yourself, Ruven Govender, and Kyle Legacy work together so well?

Comedy is just a lonely game, at the end of the day you’re an island and doing a lot of work alone and performing alone. We just decided that we would have a collective of guys working towards the same goal. We work on project individually but then, at the same time, we do a lot of stuff together. It help work on larger projects that you might not be able to do alone.

We are all very different people and we wouldn’t naturally, possibly be friends outside of comedy. I don’t know how I would have met these guys outside of comedy and, because we are so different, every situation we get into we find we have completely different perspectives on it and we really enjoy those differences. At the end of the day, they’re just good friends and I enjoy watching them succeed or fail on stage.

 

What can we expect from your latest show, Animals Attack Me

I’m delivering about 1o true stories about animal encounters. They are 100% true and I have just spent the last three years honing my craft so that I can tell them in the funniest way possible. I want to make these stories accessible and people that are interested in animals or had some animal experience themselves, there would be time to chat about that. I think everyone has a few in some regards to wild animals and I just want to dwell on the topic and open it up a little bit.

Sam Kissajukian’s Animals Attack Me is on at the Elephant & Wheelbarrrow, Northbridge from February 15th – 21st.

Photo Credits: samkissajukian.com, eveleighcomedy.com

Theatre Review: Zwai @ The Big Top, The Pleasure Garden


Zwai, part of Fringe World’s impressive array of circus productions, is one of the festival’s stand out events on the calendar. E1NZ, composed by performers Esther and Jonas Slanzi, bring their extraordinary new show to Perth audiences for the next few nights.

JonasEstherSlanziOn a sweltering Sunday night, the Big Top was a hefty buzz with anticipation over one of the festival’s most-anticipated circus experiences. As the lights dimmed, both performers immediately embodied their characters. The two characters duel over freedom of expression, fighting on another to escape their limited surroundings.

The narrative is essential to Zwai’s emotional, physical, and sensory auras. It is relatively simple, with two characters feuding endlessly over space. The plot, like circus performance itself, focuses on how multiple beings come together – finding literal and figuratively stability within unique environments. From the blissful opening sequence, the performance whisked the audience away into a kitsch world.

With the setting based around only a handful of props/tools, along with fewer lighting and soundtrack changes, Zwai involves a less-is-more approach. The show relies on the performer’s abilities throughout the highest highs and subdued character moments. Kicking off the show, Esther pulls off a flawless rope routine via the trapeze-like pulley system set-up. Swinging towards the crowd, her first number immediately impressed the all-ages, fan-waving crowd.

The story is made whole by peculiar, interesting character moments and an overt sense of humour. Both characters have varying ticks, continually moving green, glass bottles, heavy, wooden table, and drawers around the stage. To each other’s despair, both characters illuminate their desires for the room. Esther held on tightly as Jonas pushed and pulled the table, on all angles, across the venue. Their expressive, silent performances cement the pillars of circus performance – style and substance.

The performers’ grace and agility were simply awe-inspiring, highlighted by Jonas balancing a red ball on each part of his body throughout an intensifying 10-minute stretch. The pair’s chemistry and dynamic, coupled with a whimsical score, raised the light-hearted, gleeful tone. The floor routine, including Jonas lifting and flipping Esther (keeping a diabolo in motion), fluttered along with jaw-dropping rhythm. Juggling bottles between one another, their synchronicity and reflexes are superhuman.

The big, brash moments of Zwai further wowed and stunned the audience. Esther launched into the air, performing a vertigo inducing, dizzying single-rope routine. Tying a knot, and adding weight, to the table, her core strength helped pull the mass straight upwards. Supported by Jonas and the table’s immense weight, Esther’s swing routine made palms sweat.JonasEstherSlanzi

The show’s climactic routines were worth the price of admission several times over. Jonas took multi-tasking to the next level – balancing the ball on his face whilst pulling himself several meters off the ground. His diabolo routine was the show’s standout act, showcasing his immense concentration and fluidity across the stage. His exhaustion caught up with him, losing balance multiple times during the final routine.

Esther and Jonas received a standing ovation as Zwai came to a blistering close. The show is one of this festival’s most refined and extravagant circus productions. Get in quick!

Photo credit: E1NZ

Theatre Review: Luminous @ Freo Royale, Fremantle Town Hall


Art Kinetica and Lauren Eisinger’s latest Fringe World smash hit, Luminous, will make you ask to that all important question: “Seriously…how do they do it?!”. This circus extravaganza is Limbo’s biggest competition for the season’s best production – an outside-the-box achievement worthy of the praise and rewound venue it’s staged in.

3862_Luminous_Promo-9_EFUL_IMAGEThe Fremantle Town Hall was a hefty buzz with anticipation, awaiting something truly exciting on the show’s opening night. Before the lights went out, an electronica/trance/percussive score blasted our ears. The pre-show atmosphere immersed the audience in a frenzying mix of contemporary artistic sensibilities and the venue’s period aesthetic.

As the show begun, the lights flickered into a deep sleep, and the pitch-black aura held us in a trance. The anticipation reached breaking point, before a soothing narration voice kicked in. The announcement pulled us forwards, calling the performers “creatures” and referring to the ensuing performance as a “Pigment of imagination”.

As the narration stopped, Luminous showcased the raw, everlasting strength of its imagination. Utilising black light technology and fluorescent body paint, the performers transported us to another universe. Two stage hands, donning black leotards, painted symmetrical patterns over each character. Orange, green, yellow, red, and blue neon lit up the stage, illuminating every movement and mannerism.

The show’s four lead characters, each donning intricate, alien-like headgear and facial detailing, are worth the admission price. Living up to the “setting aside everything you thought you knew about gravity” tagline, each performer got a chance to showcase their extraordinary skill sets. A mix of solo and group sequences, the group’s collaborative efforts solidified the illusion.

Luminous’ solo performances became central to its visceral, unique sensory impact. Fitted with unique patterns all over their bodies, each artist contorted their bodies to a raucous reception from the awe-struck crowd. Handstands, front flips, and stretches showcased each person’s inhuman balance and physicality.

Despite a few stuff-ups and foibles, the circus acts and flourishes flowed together. Early on, orange juggling clubs lit up the stage. Our performers, juggling multiple clubs at once, gave us the first taste of the cast’s overwhelming talents. As the show continued, hula-hoops and juggling balls flew through the air and around our spirited aerialists and acrobats.

3862_Luminous_Promo-8_EFUL_IMAGEOvershadowing the juggling and hula-hooping stunts, the cast’s aerial pursuits were terrifying just to look at. The aerial silk stunts took everyone by surprise, further accentuating the cast’s intricate abilities. In addition, the climax is a visual and emotional feast. As one character ascends, on the trapeze, water bombs and bottles spray UV liquid across the stage.

Made up of three male performers and one female, the narrative provides a meditative, melodic exploration of gender and power. Within each sequence and act, each action further develops the show’s characters and thematic resonance. Throughout the event, in true Avatar-like fashion, the show heavy-handedly presents the native person’s interactions with flora, fauna, and their own kind.

Luminous is one of Fringe World and Freo Royale’s – literally and figuratively – brightest events. The extravaganza provides a creative and exhilarating venture into another realm for only a few nights at a time.

Photo credit: Riley Burns

Predator Movie Review: Schwarzenegger Smackdown


Director: John McTiernan

Writer: Jim & John Thomas

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke
predator-movie-poster-1987-1020261352


Release date: June 12th, 1987

Distributor: 20th Century Fox 

Country: USA

Running time: 107 minutes


 

4½/5

Review: Predator

 

Comedy Review: Colin Ebsworth: Neato Burrito @ DeLuxe


Perth comedian Colin Ebsworth, throughout his burgeoning stand-up career, has had a string of overwhelming experiences. At just 23, he has gone from strength to strength across the country. Delivering his refreshing, in-your-face style of comedy, he returns to Perth’s Fringe World festival – following up sell-out, award nominated shows Western Devil and First Blood: Parts I and II – with his best hour of hilarity yet.

col-eb-photo-by-tom-harfieldPerforming at some of Australia’s biggest stand-up events, and touring with the likes of Claire Hooper, Ebsworth’s enthusiasm and work ethic come off in spades. His latest set hits home; providing a modest, relatable look at early-20s existence.

Opening act Sean Conway, fresh off his latest act Rock ‘N’ Rolla, perfectly got the ball rolling on Neato Burrito’s opening night. Conway, with an impressive beard and bellowing voice, fits the mould of top Aussie bloke. His set revelled in Perth’s don’t-care spirit, poking fun at the never-ending feud between the Eagles and Dockers, Spudshed owner Tony Galati’s trouble with the establishment, and the bogan’s obsession with drugs. Breaking down a stint with steroids, his brief appearance left us wanting more.

Inside Fringe’s Deluxe venue, the audience sweltered in close-knit conditions. Ebsworth stormed onto the stage to thunderous applause from the overwhelming crowd. The comic hit the ground running, launching into self-effacing material about his appearance. Referring to his “Disney villain” face, the friendly, neighbourhood performer pulled the audience into his unique worldview.

Like preceding shows, he called Australia’s bogan-driven culture into question. Ripping apart rat-tails, neck-tattoos, and AFL, his scathing opinions hit the nail on the head. His material ascends to even greater scrutiny, tearing apart the concept of E-Plates on work vehicles for ‘troubled’ drivers. His wrath against Australia delves into very dark waters, highlighting the ridiculousness of our inherent xenophobia and lackadaisical treatment of crime.

Like his preceding Fringe World performances, Ebsworth’s quick wit, rollicking pace, and likeable stage presence stand tall. His observational notes touch on the public’s biggest pet peeves, with vegans, burlesque, pop-up advertisements, and professional DJs are obliterated by the comic’s dark, edgy comments. The audience wandered into the firing line, with the front row chock-a-block with under-18s and half-drunk 40-year-olds.artworks-000064885041-mowt8f-t500x500

Neato Burrito, essentially, resembles a workshop for Ebsworth to test new material, launch into inspired impressions, and gauge audience sensitivity. The light-hearted larrikin immediately picked up the vibe, acknowledging which gags landed better than others. Brushing aside muted reactions and loud heckles; his self-awareness keeps his confidence in check.

Ebsworth’s set provides a unique, heartfelt insight into his professional and personal lives. His routine puts a contemporary twist on relationship material, discussing the varying difficulties of the age gap in the shallow-gossip age. He is aware of their demographic, tearing down everything to do with the first break up, the in-laws, and the relationship’s many perplexing highs and lows. Similarly, his commentary/advice on men and women – gay and straight – rings with a hint of optimism.

Ebsworth reflects upon his childhood and the young-adult phase, aptly describing life in Perth for anyone between 4 and 26 years. From his parents’ yin-yang dynamic to his friends’ unhelpful relationship advice, the comedian’s paints a shockingly relatable and explicit picture of his coming of age. His standout material talked about the bliss of primary school, vividly comparing the classroom politics to gangland warfare and lunchtime in the playground to Shawshank Redemption.

Neato Burrito is one of Fringe World’s gems – an honest, hysterical, and haunting insight into Perth’s best and worst individuals, groups, and cultural touchstones.

Comedy Review: Ben Darsow 2016 @ Elephant & Wheelbarrow


Australian comedian Ben Darsow had a banner 2015, touring his breakout show, Now, before travelling and performing around the USA, UK, and Asia. His stand-up has launched him into the stratosphere, with comedy fans the world over eager for his brand of observational humour and pithy audience interaction. His 2015 Fringe World show sold over 1000 tickets and garnered immaculate critical acclaim.

bendarsowpromoshotHaving toured the Australian comedy circuit for several years, and mega-popular YouTube videos, Darsow’s name is up in lights. Ben Darsow 2016 hits four venues – Elephant & Wheelbarrow, Clancy’s Fish Pub, Comedy Shack, and The Balmoral Backyard – with his sharp comedic style this season.

Kicking off in Northbridge’s prestigious venue, he launched into several jabs about the return to Perth. Delivering an outsider’s perspective, his remarks against the city’s expensive café scene and thirst for fitness rang painfully true. Continuing his funny-because-it’s-true run of gags, the comedian’s anecdote – about a grocery store’s sign for $449 bananas and zero decimal points – sums up the city’s bizarre sense of self.

In true Darsow tradition, the comedian turned to the audience to ask a few modest questions. Chatting to the front row, he chatted heartily with two women about their professions, time in Perth, and the designated driver. His enthusiasm became a significant part of the set, leaping between genuine interest and witty repartee.

Chatting with two miners in the front row, Darsow recalled several baffling stories of his latest tour of the Goldfields. His stories seemed unfathomable, prodding everything from the loneliness of FIFO workers, to Occupational Health and Safety officers, to the mining boom’s impact on Perth prices. Despite forgetting a number of punch lines, his likeability and modesty pushed himself and the audience through.

Darsow’s set became a journey of personal discovery, launching into his professional and personal lives intersecting. His self-deprecating, ironic sense of humour helped him reflect upon his own life story. His stories of New York/Lafayette expenses, a drag queen/bingo night in Sydney, and speeding taxis in Malaysia drew us into the peculiar, unique exploits of a travelling comedian.

The Adelaide comic shared several out-there tales of life on the road and in the fast lane. His anecdotes revealed unique, intricate details about the differences between Australia and the rest of the world. The comedian, paying attention to each gag and response, discussed the success of each joke and anecdote in front of different audiences. His jabs against Ryan Crowley, Jared (the Subway guy), and deaths at Stereosonic elicited a ‘too soon…’ response.

show_page_display.1426490144The comic’s life story rounded out the set, reflecting upon his time as a single, young man. His relatable, self-conscious anecdotes – referring to texting as a single man, the number of sexual partners, awkward dating experiences, and being in long-term relationships – hit close to home for each male crowd member. The climax of the show did not disappoint, with Darsow opening up about several alarming experiences with drugs.

The finale tapped into his wacky side, with Daddy Cool’s Eagle Rock blaring over the speakers. As the audience whooped and cheered, Darsow and another bloke dropped their pants in beer-fuelled celebration, referring to a gag earlier in the set. His latest show is a laugh-out-loud celebration of his highs, lows, and everything in between.

Ben Darsow 2016 is playing across Perth throughout Fringe World – January 22nd to February 21st.

Cinema Release Round-Up: Spotlight & Room


Director: Tom McCarthy

Writers: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

Stars: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

11201558_ori


Release date: January 28th, 2016

Distributor: Open Road Films

Country: USA

Running time: 129 minutes


4½/5

Writer/director/character-actor Tom McCarthy has had a topsy-turvy career chock-a-block with unique choices. From festival hits The Station Agent and The Visitor to Adam Sandler flop The Cobbler, no two projects are the same. His most recent Oscar contender, Spotlight, is the complete opposite of The Revenant, The Big Short, Carol…essentially, everything else up for consideration this season.

Spotlight is a journalism drama/detective-thriller harking back to the old-school style of filmmaking (All the President’s Men, especially). Built from the ground up, the project, thanks to McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer, braves the backlash to discuss one of the past decade’s most arresting true stories. The plot follows The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team – the United States’ oldest operating print investigative-journalism division. The team – comprised of Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton), Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carol (Brian d’Arcy James) – drop everything to investigate cases of widespread child sex abuse by Roman Catholic Priests throughout Massachusetts.

Make no mistake; this story needed to be told. The events depicted in Spotlight earned the team the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Yes, this subject matter may deter audiences until its inevitable Netflix release. However, this docudrama deserves the big-screen treatment over January/February schlock. This is the perfect example of a terrific story treated respectfully thanks to talented writers, director, and performers. The team’s movements – watched over by editing staffers Marty Baron (Live Schreiber) and Ben Bradlee, jr. (John Slattery) – look and feel organic. Delving into the pen-and-paper, early 21st Century world of journalism and truth-seeking, each action and reaction is etched carefully into every awe-inspiring frame.

The screenplay and direction combine succinctly, creating a restrained and subtle insight into some of the past century’s most harrowing events. McCarthy’s direction makes a point without ever beating you over the head. Each major twist and turn interweaves efficiently, blending together the investigation, significant political events (9/11), and the characters’ backstories. Aided by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, McCarthy’s vision makes for a mise-en-scene/attention to detail lover’s dream. Above all else, its screenplay adds enough humanity and personality to every scene – making the most difficult events seem relatable. Depicting victims, conspirators, and everyone in between, it’s hard to fathom just how accurate and necessary this docudrama is (and will hopefully remain).

The cast adapts to McCarthy’s style, their true-to-life counterparts, and confronting subject matter with aplomb. Keaton, coming off a career-best performance in Birdman, is a charismatic force as a leader stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ruffalo and McAdams deliver lively impressions of their enthusiastic and determined real-life counterparts. Character-actors Schreiber, Slattery, James, and Stanley Tucci commit to consequential roles.

Spotlight will make you angry, highlighting just how evil the Catholic Church became over several decades (without hindrance!). This docudrama is a tight, taut, and detailed insight into journalism, a devastating socio-political issue, and a community in tatters.

Verdict: Necessary and impactful viewing.


Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Writer: Emma Donoghue (screenplay and novel)

Stars : Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

large_large_bhPgko14727rF9tSpstSFumiZgl


Release date: January 28th, 2016

Distributor: A24

Country: Canada, Ireland 

Running time: 117 minutes


4/5

Room, not to be confused with cult-flop The Room, is a masterclass in single-setting, survival-thriller filmmaking. Compared to everything else blockbuster and Oscar related from 2015 (favouring spectacle slightly over substance), it is one of the more down-to-Earth big-screen experiences.

This drama is certainly not for the faint-hearted, dealing with subject matter the greater population chooses to ignore. The plot revolves entirely around Joy (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay)’s relationship. Confined to a single room, the two form a cohesive dynamic over an extended period. Later, as a sinister figure enters the room every night, the film reveals the full extent of their situation.

Room, like the other Oscar contenders this year, chronicles a relatable character trapped in a nightmarish situation. Based on screenwriter Emma Donoghue’s book, the story runs parallel to confronting new stories from the past decade. The titular space only takes up the first half, with Joy and Jack adapting to their predicament. Their behaviour – acknowledging everything within the room, Joy teaching Jack about the world outside, Jack’s development shifting from open-book toddler to hard-to-control child – all adhere to reality. The room becomes a being in itself, with the TV, bathtub, skylight, and kitchen key character traits.

Director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Frank) has zero intention of making the same movie twice. Room, although more confronting and visceral than you would imagine, takes a sharp turn in the second half. After Joy and Jack’s escape from imprisonment, Abrahamson bravely balances plot and theme with strong emotional heft. As Jack discovers the intricacies of this big, blue marble, Joy suffers severe, disarming cases of PTSD, malnutrition, and depression. As her mum, Nancy (Joan Allen), dad, Robert (William H. Macy), and step-dad, Leo (Tom McCamus) step in, Joy and Jack are torn asunder by shocking spiritual, physical, and psychological hurdles. For they and us, it becomes almost too hard to cope.

Room, unfortunately, has several difficult-to-ignore inconsistencies and false notes. In particular, the score comes in at inopportune moments – drowning out dialogue and trying too hard to tug the right strings. However, Room also delivers the best set piece of 2015 – as Jack, initially shocked by seeing the outside world in person, pretends to be dead, jumps out of a pickup truck, and rushes for help in the space of a few seconds. It’s performances are similarly exhilarating, with Larson a she-in for this year’s Best Actress gong. Tremblay is a treasure, exuding equal amounts of charm and grief in every frame.

Room makes for a confronting experience, hitting close to home whilst finding the light within the darkness. Its tender craftsmanship proves less really is more in Oscar-season entertainment.

Verdict: A heart-breaking ode to the human spirit.

Deadpool Review: Blood-soaked Bro-down


Director: Tim Miller

Writers: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller

b4w8wlx


Release date: February 11th, 2016

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 108 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: Deadpool 

Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness


Beautiful-Witness

Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness

Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World)


thumb56739b556d560

Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World)