TIM FERGUSON’S ‘A FAST LIFE ON WHEELS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Following ImproMafia‘s Heartfelt High on Tuesday night we next made plans to catch up with some friends on Saturday for the last round of After Hours and of course if we were going to do that then we decided we would attend Queensland Theatresports Championships the same night at 7:45pm. So on Saturday 23MAR2019 that’s exactly what we did. There were no pepperoni pizzas or chips with aioli though beloved they remain. We went up to the balcony and chatted with an airline employee from Hong Kong before the show began. I still marvel that this show is for free and it adds so much to the festival. One team, BCF, we’d seen compete two weeks earlier once again they were great as was everyone.

 

Afterwards I got some lemon, lime & bitters and sat down with Karen killing time. I ran into the talented sketch comedian Mark Lombard who confirmed with me that I had written the review of Brisburned@Work for Scenestr. He thanked me for the review and I congratulated him on the show. I enjoyed the exchange. You see performers around all the time at the Festival and I never quite know what to do but Mark did.

As we got closer to the time for After Hours our friends arrived and we went outside to the river to meet them. I talked up the highlight reel aspect of the first After Hours we saw but noted it could be different tonight and boy am I glad I added that disclaimer. We descended to the Turbine Studio that night and saw something more akin to what I was expecting the first time. Some comedian came out snorting and rubbing his nose before referencing he’d been drinking. Another felt he was dying and referenced that a fellow comedian Demi Lardner was laughing at him backstage while this happened. I don’t know if anybody was trying out rawer or edgier material for this particular show but if not, they were hardly conservative acts. Also with the festival wrapping up there were no cabaret shows trying to sell last show tickets, just comedians plying their trade. We saw Demi Lardner (energetic and brash – totally owning her set), Matt Stewart (the nicest and one of the funnier people on the night), Tom Ballard (the biggest name probably there that night and a solid closer although even he seemed to note there was a lot of anger in his bit). Blake Freeman (who does the kind of gross awkward humour that makes you nervous but kind of gets away with it because there’s something so likeable there). There were two more and I liked them but their names escape me. Dusty Rich was of course on hand to compere and came away the winner of the night doing some audience interaction with a big unit named Cammo. The only thing funnier for me was Ballard explaining where smashed avo comes from.  We stole off into the night again certainly having experienced an After Hours not as good as the first one we saw but still remaining a show we would be eager to see next year. In fact a strong had been made to see if more than once every year!

That left my assignment for Scenestr magazine the next day over at the Ithaca Auditorium in Brisbane City Hall at 5pm. If you’re of a certain age you know of the Doug Anthony All Stars, they were just before my time but I saw some old The Big Gig episodes on Foxtel in the 90s and heard them whispered about in awe. One member Paul McDermott became a big deal to me with a little show called Good News Week which was of my time.

A relative of mine had MS and I saw her fight it for two decades. I took part in the fundraising Moonlight Walks for MS along my city’s river in 2007, 2009 and 2010  thinking about her and many like her. Some of them taking part in the walk.

You see Tim Ferguson has MS, he’s 55 and he’s in a wheelchair. He was diagnosed in 1996 and went public in 2010. That was nine years ago when he walked with a cane. Diagnosis means one thing in terms of how things are going to end but that one thing is coming for us all. There was something deep and shared in Tim’s show. There was a little boy talking about his Dad, a rebel apologising, an young man passing on wise counsel, a sick man proving his virility, an old man looking forward to the future. I told Mark Lombard on Saturday night that Brisburned@Work was Karen’s favourite show at the festival and I was telling the truth. On Sunday night we left the auditorium and Karen turned to me and said “I have a new favourite.”

You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/tim-ferguson-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2019-20190326

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.

That concluded Brisbane Comedy Festival 2019, I had been on assignment 4 times with Scenestr, once for Weekend Notes and seen all up 11 shows. It has been quite a month and I feel really blessed and I thank you for coming along for the ride.

-Lloyd Marken

 

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HEARTFELT HIGH REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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I have certainly been in full festival mode at this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival.

Karen and I with her best friend saw Raven On Thursday night 14MAR2019 at the Brisbane Room in Brisbane City Hall. Raven On was a one woman production from Act/React starring Natalie Bochenski making peace with the impending end of the Game of Thrones. As a fan of Love/Hate Actually and Bochenski I eagerly awaited attending. Yet I found the show a little padded out and indulgent, missing the interplay and contrast with a fellow performer. Yet Bochenski remains one of the most entertaining and likeable presences you can find on stage. There were definitely highlights for me including a video of her Nan, a rap recap of the series that I hope goes viral , a gif involving David Bowie and an epic sword fight. Not to mention Bochenski herself, she’s kind of amazing. So I enjoyed it but thought it could have been even better yet despite my misgivings Karen and her friend were adamant it was a great show so there you go. Maybe there was something in the fact that I got excited when a poster for Independence Day appeared whereas they were more moved when Colin Firth’s performance in Pride and Prejudice got covered.

From there that Sunday we saw Queensland Theatresports Championships again at the Brisbane Powerhouse which was even better than last time if that is possible.

Then on Tuesday night I was on assignment for the first time for Weekend Notes to attend ImproMafia‘s latest show Heartfelt High a lampoon of all teen shows form the 1990s. It was a thrill to get to review the show for Weekend Notes and keen readers will observe I’ve seen some shows from those involved with ImproMafia. Lord of the Thrones, Animated! at Brisbane Comedy Festival 2018 and they present Queensland Theatresports Championships. Performers involved are also part of Act/React and The Shadow Collective. It’s fair to say I’m familiar with their work and I’m a fan. Opening night of Heartfelt High did not disappoint but I do hope for larger more boisterous crowds to be in attendance at subsequent shows. You can read my review here https://www.weekendnotes.com/heartfelt-high-impromafia-brisbane-comedy-festival/

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

 

KISS OF THE VAMPIRE SQUID REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The Anywhere Theatre Festival is currently running throughout my hometown of Brisbane. Act/React Theatre were doing their new show Kiss of the Vampire Squid as part of it at the Queensland Maritime Museum onboard HMAS Diamantina. HMAS Diamantina was the last World War II era ship to leave RAN service in 1980. The quarterdeck where the show was performed is where high ranking Japanese officers took part in surrender ceremonies of islands in the Pacific. This was such a unique setting for a venue from a group of performers I respect so much that I was really hoping I would get a chance to see the show.

I was even luckier than that, I got a chance to review it for Scenestr magazine attending the night of the final performance. I have seen shows from Act/React before including Love/Hate Actually and earlier this year one of the Convince Me comedy debates. I have also attended two shows by ImproMafia who share a lot of their same talent. In fact Kiss of the Vampire Squid was more similar to the comedy improv performances of Lord of the Thrones and Animated! from ImproMafia than say the thoughtfully prepared brilliance of Love/Hate Actually.

However you define it though, the show was excellent and Karen and I really enjoyed ourselves. You can read more of my thoughts here  http://scenestr.com.au/arts/kiss-of-the-vampire-squid-brisbane-review-anywhere-theatre-festival-20180521

I don’t want to belabour the point, some performances are better than others when it comes to improv but I really do marvel at what these people do and how well they consistently pull it off. To have them part of the Brisbane cultural scene means a lot and they travel too so keep your eye out for them appearing in your neck of the woods.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

CONVINCE ME! COMEDY DEBATE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was fortunate enough to review four shows at the Brisbane Comedy Festival for Scenestr Magazine. They were Animated! by ImproMafia, Rich Hall, Tom Gleeson’s Sure Thing and Act/React Theatre Company’s final in a series of Convince Me debates. Having run them for the whole of the Festival every Sunday I went along to one on the very last day of the Comedy Festival. I am huge fan of Act/React and ImproMafia which has artists involved with both and was looking forward to it. While good the show was not everything I believe it can grow into being. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/convince-me-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180328 In any event I was very grateful to see the hard work of so many talented people and really enjoyed my time at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. It has been run for years but I’ve never attended until 2018 working for Scenestr and also my wife also got free tickets for Paul Fenech’s show there as well.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

TOM GLEESON’S ‘SURE THING’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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It was a thrill to attend the Brisbane Comedy Festival to review Tom Gleeson’s show Sure Thing for Scenestr magazine last Friday night. Following on from Rich Hall, Animated! by ImproMafia this was the first time Karen and I went to see a performance in the Auditorium at the Brisbane City Hall which has been renovated in recent years. I sent a picture to my mother as my great grandfather had been a caretaker at City Hall. It turns out he played on that organ for her when she was a little girl.

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The organ at Brisbane City Hall Main Auditorium. Copyright Lloyd Marken

It’s a grand venue but not a natural fit for a stand-up comedian so only one at the height of their powers would perform in such a room and only a major headliner would get the chance. Tom Gleeson is such a comedian who I primarily know from all of his television performances. It is not a surprise that he was edgier on stage but he remained as likeable as ever and we had a good laugh. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/tom-gleeson-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180327

In a nice twist the review has been shared on Gleeson’s professional Facebook page with him mentioning “I haven’t heard of this publication but they like my live show, so now I like them.” The review has accordingly gotten some approval from him and his fans. I can’t deny that I’ve enjoyed that and am happy for the magazine.

This is the 50th post I’ve had published with Scenestr 1 year, 1 month and 3 days since my first published post. Out of those 50 posts I have done 17 interviews, 14 films reviews, 14 reviews of theatre shows and 5 reviews of stand-ups performing. I feel really blessed.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

‘ANIMATED!’ BY IMPROMAFIA REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Impromafia have to be one of the hottest tickets in town when they come up with a new show. An Improv Comedy Sketch Troupe they’re now firmly established in my hometown and still touring around the country and competing in International Comedy Sketch competitions. I was lucky enough to review their latest show Animated! at the Brisbane Comedy Festival for Scenestr Magazine. I had previously seen them last year at the Metro Arts Theatre with their Game of Thrones parody Lord of the Thrones. Some members have also formed Act/React Theatre Group whom I saw perform Love/Hate Actually at the Wonderland Festival in December. In fact some of the performers were different this time but just as good. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/animated-an-improvised-musical-fairytale-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180316 I believe Metro Arts is a better venue for sketch comedy than the Brisbane City Hall and a Saturday night a better time but these guy and gals never fail to put on a first rate show that makes you laugh. All the more impressive for the fact that they come up with the entire thing on the night and no performance is ever the same. I look forward to their next show.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

LOVE/HATE ACTUALLY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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My attendance at Wonderland Festival continued last Thursday evening where I was fortunate enough to attend Love/Hate Actually put on by the Act/React theatre group. The show starred two friends arguing the merits of the classic Richard Curtis film Love Actually which has become a perennial Christmas tradition. Something I couldn’t see in 2003 but completely makes sense in hindsight. It’s a film that is relatively light, moves fast, has a lot going on and a stellar cast. As long time readers may know, I’m a huge fan of Richard Curtis, the first post made on this blog was about his film About Time. So it was impressive to find that a critical dissection of the film had a wealth of good points to be made. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/love-hate-actually-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171201

The two stars Amy and Natalie are also fixtures in the group ImproMafia whom do Improvised Comedy Sketches. I was fortunate enough to review a show of theirs’ earlier in the year lampooning Games of Thrones, called Lord of the Thrones at Metro Arts. I attended Love/Hate Actually with an old friend and afterwards we went out for chips and a drink post-show. As I relayed this information to her and how great ImproMafia was I came to notice that the group seated at a table behind her were ImproMafia. As we got up to leave the two stars of Love/Hate Actually arrived to celebrate with their friends a successful opening night.

Lord of the Thrones featured the danger and joy of live improvised performing. Love/Hate Actually was a more meticulously constructed performance that still feed off the energy of the crowd. I found it funny and whip-smart and enjoyed every second. Not for the first time did it occur to me what incredibly talented people work in the arts around my city and maybe not always with it being their primary job. I am so grateful for such people.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken