DAVE HUGHES’S ‘RIDICULOUS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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On Friday the 13th of March, 2020 I was on assignment for Scenestr magazine at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. I was there to see famous stand-up comedian Dave Hughes.

Earlier in the week the World Health Organisation had labelled the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy hit with several cases had shut down the country to having people only going to work. France shut down children attending school.

Friday morning the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been urging people to attend the weekend football. By afternoon he was saying that come Monday no large crowds of 500 or more could gather in public.

A member of his cabinet, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had tested positive for the virus. The Formula 1 in Melbourne had been cancelled as had the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Wall Street had seen the biggest falls in stocks in one day of trading since the crash of 1987.

Heading into the weekend there was no doubt we were about to experience an economic recession, see our country shut down travel, business and events as much as possible. The most vulnerable in our community to the disease are also the most vulnerable to the pressures that will come to supermarket stocks, health care support or temporary employment.

We’re in for some rough days ahead and so it was some comfort to find quite a few people out at the Brisbane Comedy Festival ready to laugh and to see Dave Hughes a stand-up as recognisable and reliable as any stand-up in this country.

Hughesy made us laugh, laugh about the virus, laugh at ourselves, laugh at him and laugh at our lives. It was a nice reminder of how we need to face the days ahead. With support for our fellow humans and with a sense of hope and optimism. It was a privilege to attend and you can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/dave-hughes-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200316

Karen and I caught up with some friends beforehand and enjoyed our beloved snack bar menu pizzas from the Powerhouse. Then we were off to the Powerhouse Theatre, the largest venue at the Powerhouse reserved for big stars, like Hughesy, to perform.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

The following Monday, the Brisbane Comedy Festival was cancelled. In addition to big name comedians, there are a lot of shows and acts there that run on the smell of an oily rag with performers who sometimes work other jobs during the day. Such cancellations are going to provide them with significant challenges in the weeks ahead too but I know we all want to keep each other safe.

I hope you’re safe, I hope you are able to get toilet paper in your part of the world, I hope we treat each other right and help each other in the weeks ahead. I’ll try me best to do so.

-Lloyd Marken

SPEED: THE MOVIE, THE PLAY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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On the 1st of March, 2020 I was lucky enough to be assignment with Scenestr magainzne to attend the latest production from Act/React theatre company. I’m a big fan you may have noted from my previous reviews of their productions Love/Hate Actually, Kiss of the Vampire Squid, Titanic: The Movie, The Play and last Christmas Die Hard: The Movie, The Play.

Interestingly enough this production made it’s debut years ago before all of these shows and before I had even heard of Act/React or was working as a freelance writer. It maybe the best one out of the lot of them, it was certainly fun to finally get to see it as part of this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival.

Karen was unable to make it due to a sore back so I took a mate of mine. We certainly made the cute couple leading to us being asked by one of the performers during the show if we were a couple. We both shrugged and answered “Sure, why not?”. This led to an offer to come back to his place to enjoy some sandwiches. I later advised my mate proudly that I would bring the salami. He correctly pointed out that would make me the meat in the sandwich. While disembarking the bus I cheekily signalled to the performer to call me but alas the moment had passed.

It was a little bit of a shame to have Karen miss the show. At one moment I was asked to relay messages over the phone to ‘Keanu’ on how to defuse the bomb and my mate had his haircut commented on. I’m happy to report my friend had a good time and I was glad he could make it.

You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/speed-the-movie-the-play-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200306

If you’re a local, definitely check them out, many shows have already sold out but there are a few tickets left.

-Lloyd Marken

 

AARON CHEN’S ‘MR CIGARETTE’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The annual Brisbane Comedy Festival has kicked off and I was lucky to attend stand-up comedian Aaron Chen’s new show at the Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse on assignment for Scenestr.

I came across Chen last year when I attended After Hours and reviewed it for Weekend Notes. After Hours was hosted by Dusty Rich and featured artists with shows doing medleys or their best number or scene and stand-ups effectively doing a tight 5 set. That night Rhys Nicholson absolutely killed and was the best on the night but Chen caught my attention with his swagger commanding presence on stage milking laughs out of thin air on the sheer strength of his persona. So I was keen to see his show and am happy to report everything I thought of Aaron Chen after those five minutes last year remains true.

You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/aaron-chen-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200226

My customary photos from the event I am sad to report are lacking because I left my phone at home. Thankfully Karen has stepped in and come to the rescue so there are some photos thanks to her. Hope you enjoy.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

RASA REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I saw my sixth and final Wonderland show on assignment for Scenestr magazine last Friday evening. I feel incredibly lucky to continue to work for Scenestr and review some amazing talent and work for them.

Karen and I went and saw stand-up comedian Ashwin Segkar’s show Rasa which we both enjoyed and was a great way to cap off the festival for another year. You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/ashwin-segkar-rasa-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2019-20191203

Afterwards Karen and I did partake some more of beloved pepperoni and basil and margherita pizzas at the Brisbane Powerhouse bar. Another special year at Wonderland had come to an end. What will 2020 bring?

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

FORTIFIED REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Following attending Awesome Ocean Party and Die Hard: The Movie, The Play Thursday the 21st of November the following evening we attended the cabaret Fortified starring Amity Dry in the Turbine Studio.

Fortified deals with divorce and Dry is to be commended for what feels like a very raw and honest show about her thoughts, feelings, and hopes for what happened and what will come of it.

I couldn’t shake the feeling though afterwards that at times my sympathies had not gone where I thought they should. That again could be something about how real and open this show was, it could also be my own interpretation of the show but it didn’t feel like it was by design or with purpose. It felt like something had been missed in the telling.  A one-sided perspective it felt odd to wonder more about the others involved then come away even more deeply moved by Dry’s own tale of survival.

Amity has many fans and I certainly enjoyed her show, all the songs are original and many played in my head days later as did her incredible voice singing them. You can read the review that was published online by Scenestr magazine here https://scenestr.com.au/arts/fortified-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2019-20191125

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

 

AWESOME OCEAN PARTY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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How did I ever not know about Wonderland? Every year at around about this time the festival runs at the Brisbane Powerhouse with a mix of cabaret, comedians, plays and experiments.

This is my third time reviewing shows for Scenestr magazine and it remains something  special that I truly look forward to. As I approached the Powerhouse for my first show I smiled at the lit up ‘W‘ sign above the main entrance. It was good to be back.

Last Thursday I arrived to see shows Awesome Ocean Party and the highly anticipated latest from Act/React’s Die Hard: The Movie, The Play.

More on the latter later but you can read my review of Awesome Ocean Party here https://scenestr.com.au/arts/awesome-ocean-party-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2019-20191125. Nominated for Best Cabaret at Melbourne Fringe 2016, the show had a quirky home made charm about it, likeable performers and a lovely message.

 

 

Afterwards attending the show at the Turbine Studio, Karen and I went to the bar and had our beloved favourite Powerhouse pizzas – basil and cheese for Karen and pepperoni for me.

We then made our way to Nakatomi plaza.

To be continued…

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

GIANTESS REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was back at MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture last week to see Giantess on Thursday night at the Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse on assignment for Scenestr. Written and performed by transgender stand-up Cassie Workman, it has won numerous awards since its debut. Following Trade by Impromafia, a show I deeply enjoyed and felt privileged to attend, this was a quieter performance that proved touching with its message and the demure but steely presence of Cassie herself. What a wonderful thing it is live in a city where such a festival provides an outlet for artists and attraction for audiences.

You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/cassie-workman-giantess-brisbane-review-melt-festival-20190709

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We took in our surroundings a bit more with the ice-block float hanging from the ceiling as part of the MELT festivities at the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse. We also grabbed the beloved bar snack menu pizzas – pepperoni for me and tomato and basil (margherita according to others) for Karen. While enjoying our pizzas outside on the balcony our possum came by to see if we’d let some scraps come our way. Unfortunately nobody told him/her how seriously Karen and I take our pizza eating.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken