Monday, May 22, 2006

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest

Put our service to the test...

I have been to see the
MTC production of 'The Clean House' this weekend. The play was written by Sarah Ruhl, and this production is performed by Julia Blake, Daniela Farinacci, Wendy Hughes, Pip Miller and Deirdre Rubenstein.

The house is a very Clean House. The expanse of white carpet is dotted with white furniture and its emotionally reserved inhabitant, Lane, is also crisply outfitted in a white ensemble. (Do we see a pattern forming here?) In contrast, her talkative Brazillian live-in cleaner, Matilde, dresses in a serviceable black and although paid to clean the house is not happy doing so and is struggling to find within herself the jokes she feels are her destiny to share with the world. Matilde's joke-telling parents have, after a bizarre series of events, died and although she is trying to search out the perfect joke in their memory she is afraid that her life will end once it is found. Lane's sister, Virginia, loves to clean, lives to clean, so offers her services to Matilde - she will clean house while Matilde cheers herself up and can work on her jokes... Lane is married to a surgeon, Charles, who reveals that he has fallen in love with another woman, a flamboyant opposite to the highly restrained Lane. Charles' revelation and the introduction of his new girlfriend, Ana, who is also Brazillian, breaks open Lane's cool, white facade and starts in motion the events that will resolve some of the characters' internal issues and bring the play to its chaotic conclusion.

I do feel that I may have felt more involved with the play if I had understood Matilde's language. The play was spoken in English but some of Matilde's more lengthy jokes were told in her native tongue. I felt most of the actors inhabited their characters weill but I felt that Ana was possibly not comfortable in her role and was over-acting to compensate. Of course, this is only my impression, I mean no disrepect, and I saw one of the earlier performances so this may have been an "off night", who knows? It would be difficult to laugh convincingly at a joke you have heard many times before and to act out the last laugh of your life must be a great challenge.

The story was engaging, the use of the set to transport us in time and space was fabulous and gave the tale, at times, a mythical air. I enjoyed it very much and I don't envy the person who had to clean up after each performance.

Tie your napkin 'round your neck, cherie, and we'll provide the rest...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Theatre

Something for everyone, A Comedy Tonight...

I have to say that the nights that I went to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival I had a really great time. I know that I should have gone to more shows than I did but I am glad that I managed to see more than last year.

I managed to organise a Friday night outing starting with dinner at Zampeli's Cafe Greco at Crown Casino - yum - and moving on to see Tripod followed by Adam Hills.

Even though it was a horrible night weather-wise, the mizzling rain didn't seem to be dampening anyone's spirits in the least. There were queues and queues of people in the central Comedy precinct around the Melbourne Town Hall and everyone was determined to have a good time.

I am in awe of the talent that the members of Tripod possess. Not only can they sing wonderfully but they write their own stuff and perform with so much enthusiasm. I was a fan of the "Song In An Hour" segment they had on the radio station JJJ and I miss it. They were given three disconnected topics/items/genres to include in a song which they then had to write, rehearse and perform after just one hour. They never failed. They were brilliant. Topical and hilarious it was the highlight of my week. Their Comedy Festival show was a blend of old and new songs and did not disappoint.

Adam Hills is the host of one of my favourite television programs - Spicks and Specks - and is so cute you want to invite him to a dinner party so you can ask him to tell more of his stories. He good-naturedly interacts with his audience so everyone feels involved and my only regret is that we missed the sign language interpreter he has with him at his Sunday performances because I've heard that their double act will have you in stitches. One to remember for next time. Until then, you can see him on the ABC as host of their music quiz show, Spicks and Specks, on a Wednesday at 8:30pm.

I've also just realised today that I had a ticket to one of the MTC shows at the beginning of this month and totally missed it. Botheration. Not much I can do about it, it's my own silly fault. However, I am off to see The Clean House tonight so will have more to review tomorrow.

I've also taken advantage of a special offer and am going to see The Australian Ballet perform Giselle in a couple of weeks. I've also arranged to see Lano & Woodley, who I missed at The Comedy Festival, in November when they return to Melbourne on their farewell tour. I'm really enjoying taking advantage of the cultural side of Melbourne this year. It's been something I've not really been able to afford to do before so it's nice to be in a place where I can do this sort of thing.

Now I've just got to work out when I can go to the Gym...

Anything you ask for, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Comedy...To-night!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I had to let it happen

I had to change...

I've finally had my birthday party. It wasn't the big event that I thought it might be but then maybe having a wedding three years ago has taken it out of me. I didn't even advertise it as my birthday party but I did get a present from one of my high school friends on the day which was very special.

So, officially, I am 30.

It's not too bad, really. I have my health, all of my teeth, a wonderful husband and a d*mn fine group of friends, a healthy mortgage, a job I enjoy, and some spare cash to spend on myself every so often.

I guess that's why when my Mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday I couldn't really think of anything spectacular to ask for to mark the occasion. Same with my sisters. My beautiful Nanna gave me a scratchie (a lotto or pools card where you scratch off a plastic-silver covering to see whether you have won a cash prize) and some cash (a modest amount) which I still have not spent. I was planning to use it to buy a ticket to see The Lion King in Melbourne but I really think I've missed the boat with that one. I'll just have to fly to Perth to see it now!

I am happy to say that I have managed to catch a couple of shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I have missed out on tickets to see Lano & Woodley for the last time and I am kicking myself, but have managed to grab tickets to Tripod and Adam Hills next Friday night and I'm rather happy with that. I managed to catch the first taping of the ABC's The Glass House for free (no, I don't mean by watching it on television) due to having a friend in high places - I clapped so much that my hands hurt and smiled/laughed so much that my face hurt. It's what you want from a comedy show, really.

I have to admit that Logan and I went to see "D-Cuppettry" as well. Not my thing, really, and I have no plans to ever see the male equivalent (despite an invitation from my parents one year to see it with them *shudder*) but it was entertaining and we had "Tight*rse Tuesdays" tickets so it was a good 'n' cheap night out. Logan said that his face hurt from laughing/smiling but I felt only that it was entertaining enough and not particularly laugh-out-loud funny. The ladies were consummate performers and their breasts were considered by the audience as merely an appendage, like an arm or a leg, which is down to the matter-of-fact atmosphere in which they presented their all-singing, all-dancing, topless puppettry. Good on them for doing the show and de-mystifying the female mammary glands.

Another nice thing that has happened is that a Performance Bonus has arrived in my bank account with my regular pay this fortnight. Yay, me. It's great to be rewarded for doing a job well that you enjoy. (Bevis, take note...)

Couldn't stay all my life down at heel