LARRY’S ODYSSEY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I am in my current second year as a freelance writer with Scenestr magazine and starting to enjoy a second ride on some wonderful Merry-Go-Rounds. This is true of the Wonderland Festival which a year ago I was completely unaware of. A heady mix of cabaret, music, comedy and burlesque acts from around the country all performing for two weeks at the Brisbane Powerhouse (an old 1920s powerstation, closed in 1971 and renovated and re-purposed in 2000 as a cultural hub). Last year I considered myself very lucky to cover five acts for Scenestr who were just tremendous – Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate ActuallyNath Valvo and Heroism and Sidekickery. I also went and saw There’s Something About Mary(s) after interviewing star Cassie George for Scenestr. This year in another stroke of luck I get to cover five shows again which I really don’t take for granted. I’m really looking forward to Two Man Tarantino and going to see Love/Hate Actually again with my friends.

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Outside the Graffiti Room. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

On opening night though of Wonderland 2018 I went to see Larry’s Odyssey, a brave type of performance with lots of audience interaction. The performance was in the Graffitti Room, a space I hadn’t attended before and proved perfect for this show. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/larry-s-odyssey-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181123

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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 Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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INTERVIEW WITH COMEDIAN RANDY FELTFACE AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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One of the funniest shows I saw last year was Randy Writes A Novel, performed and written by Randy Feltface who is famous for his work with comedic partner Sammy J including television series Ricketts Lane on the ABC, Randy Writes A Novel was his fourth solo show which I saw at the Wonderland Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Not just raucously funny it was cleverly meta and so it was quite a thrill to only a month late get the opportunity with Scenestr magazine to interview Randy in preparation for his tour of his new solo show Randy’s Anti-Crisis. Randy proved not just funny but, thoughtful, insightful and extremely gracious. You can read the interview here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/randy-s-anti-crisis-exploring-the-concept-of-belief

Readers who live in Adelaide and Perth I highly recommend you going along to see his upcoming shows.

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. This interview was published in print in the January WA edition of Scenestr which is always a thrill for a GenX guy like myself. A digital version of the print edition can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/read/WA/2018/10-WA/scenestr-WA-10.html#p=24 with the interview on page 24.  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

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ALEX WILLIAMSON, NATH VALVO AND HEROISM AND SIDEKICKERY REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The second and final weekend of the Wonderland Festival was a rollercoaster ride of up and downs. Having seen Love/Hate Actually on Thursday night I set off to attend a concert by stand-up comedian Alex Williamson at the Old Museum before returning to Wonderland for the rest of the weekend.

I love going to see stand-ups, in fact a lot of the shows I saw at Wonderland were comedies or comedian shows. The Old Museum in Brisbane is not far from where I used to work as hospital wardsman many years ago. I’ve been there over the years when they had the French Festival there, to see my sister in law perform as a member of Queensland Wind and Brass, it is the home of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. There were no elderly volunteers serving homemade scones with tea this night though. Karen and I approached two young women at the canteen who told us no food was available but would we like a drink. No peanuts, no chips, nothing, nada. They kindly told me where the nearest eating venue was and we ended up getting some nice truffle chips before racing back to the venue.

We found a good spot with twenty minutes to go until the allotted time of 7:30pm. I whispered to Karen that the show would most likely start at 7:45pm. As time went on I began to notice most of the audience was younger than us and Karen did not approve of all the baseball caps being worn indoors. I’ve never really cared for that absurd protocol and enjoyed the lively atmosphere of people kicking back after a hard week at work ready to laugh. A few dared each other to race out and grab another drink having already finished the one they had by 7:35pm. Sure enough the show kicked off at 7:45pm and within a minute Karen had gone stone faced. I leaned in and told her I had to stay to review the show but if she wanted to leave -she could but she didn’t.

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I was faced with a conundrum, this was the first time I had really seen a show for Scenestr and not enjoyed it. I wanted to express that but I also wanted to be fair to the comedian who had allowed us to attend his show to give an honest and fair review. Alex Williamson is extremely popular, engages with his fan base, commands attention on stage and give his all. Most of his comedy for me though lacked depth and rarely made me laugh. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/alex-williamson-brisbane-review-the-old-museum-20171206 I actually believe Williamson is very talented and could mature into a comedian who makes me laugh one day.

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Which brings us to Nath Valvo, a stand-up we saw at Wonderland Festival the next night. Like the puppet Randy the week before I laughed quite a lot through Nath’s routine. Valvo’s audience was full of people of all different ages, backgrounds, etc. We all laughed together in recognition of so many truths that felt familiar to all of us. Of course the key was wit, timing, delivery, pacing not just insight. Comedy is a tricky thing to review, repeat some of the jokes and you’ll spoilt them with your delivery and lack of context, over analyse too much and anything ceases to be funny. Its hard to explain what is funny but you know it because people laugh and if it isn’t funny they don’t. To that end wasn’t Alex Williamson just as funny then. Well not to me and therein lies the rub. Given I saw them one night after the other and had such different reactions it was fascinating to compare the two but in the end that’s just coincidence. I found Nath Valvo really funny and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/nath-valvo-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171204

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The next day we saw Nath again on a sunday afternoon before going to see the final show I was to attend at WonderlandA Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery. Conceived and performed by Michelle Zahner with some help from the audience it was a humble intimate piece that poked fun at comic book tropes while delivering a heartfelt message of the little ways we can be heroic in our own lives. I’m curious to see how the show could expand without spoiling what makes it so special. Zahner has such a likeable engaging stage presence that I think no matter what the piece will remain charming and smart. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/the-modern-guide-to-heroism-and-sidekickery-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171205

I felt really lucky to attend all the shows I got to see and review and/or review at Wonderland and hope to get more opportunities in the future.

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

‘RANDY WRITES A NOVEL’ AND ‘WASTELAND’ REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Currently the Wonderland Festival is running at the Brisbane Powerhouse and like the Queensland Cabaret Festival earlier this year at the same venue Scenestr put the call out to their contributors to suggest some shows they would be happy to attend and review. Previously for the Queensland Cabaret Festival I was lucky enough to see Soldier’s Wife. This time around I am to attend and review five shows Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate Actually, Nath Valvo, Heroism and Sidekickery. They are not the only shows running too, check out the program here https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/festivals/wonderland-festival-2017/ if you’re a local.

On Friday night Karen and I saw Randy Writes A Novel which probably features one of the bigger names of the festival with Randy ( a purple felt puppet) doing a stand up routine that asked some big questions about narrative structure and the purpose of art. God it’s good to laugh. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/randy-writes-a-novel-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

On Saturday while Karen worked, I went to see Wasteland with her best friend put on by Flipside Circus. Think Cirque Du Soleil but with the performers aged 9 to 16 and set in a post apocalyptic future. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/wasteland-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

I also went and saw the cabaret There’s Something About Mary(s) starring Cassie George and musical director Luke Volker on piano. I was fortunate enough to interview Cassie for Scenestr in the lead up to Wonderland and was excited to see her show. A low key affair with one piano and a singer on stage I enjoyed the show. George is a talent through and through and her repartee with Volker kept the show moving. She certainly knows how to belt out a tune and he is excellent at tickling the old ivory. I kept wanting something deeper and more insightful from the finale but the show reflects a search that is ongoing about how to be our best selves and maybe that is why I felt some lack of fulfillment because it reflects the show’s ideas. Either way I will look out for shows from them in the future, it takes guts and panache to do what she did and honey she did it well. You can check out a review of the show from another Scenestr writer here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/there-s-something-about-mary-s-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171129

Wonderland runs over two weekends. I’ll be attending further shows starting Thursday. Have a great week everyone. 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

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