Wednesday, 31 March 1999

BLOODY YANKS, 31 March 1999

 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Reviewer: KATE HERBERT on 31 March 1999

Australians seem to accept racism towards only one nationality: America. Surely being guilty of a yen for world domination cannot excuse prejudice. Bloody Yanks is a clever comic solo show written and performed by Yankie, Bill Ten Eyck. It is a collection of comic-tragic Americans, some more dislikeable than others.

Ten Eyck, with minimal costume change and maximum acting skill, peoples the stage with five individual on-stage characters and several more off-stage. They are all visitors or residents of Vin's, a Los Angeles cafe run by the unseen Vin, a migrant who 'comes from the 80's".

Ten Eyck  introduces the show in a sharp, rapid-fire comic routine as a cleaning guy who praises and teases us about the exorbitant hidden costs of a night at the theatre. We next meet an out-of-work actor ( is there any other kind in LA?) who awaits his agent's call for his big break in a movie as a guy who gets his head blown off during the opening credits.

An anxiety-ridden, forty-year-old Ad Man who is mounting a campaign to sell God to America follows him. All he needs is the approval of the Archbishop for his pitch to rename the commandments "Handy Hints" and God Cliff New-man. The priest buys it! Only in America!

The 52 year old, Hispanic busboy at Vin's, drags on a fag as he fantasises about being a millionaire with a roll-a-door. Our final guest is an older veteran of Korea, drunk from his reunion with his army buddies. He has no resentment of his millionaire pal who has a 14 year-old model girlfriend.

Ten Eyck is a performer who deserves noticing during this Comedy Festival. His vivid, broad characterisations are exceptional and his dialogue well observed and detailed. His comic delivery is impeccable and he knows how to work an audience.

The hour passes effortlessly with economical direction by Christine Sinclair. Monologues are seamlessly linked by simple lighting changes, swift vocal adjustments, American songs and voice overs of other characters. The voice-over characterisation of a Republican Senate candidate from Wisconsin with the big mouth is hilarious.

In fact, the whole show is really funny and very charming. Ten Eyck manages to give each a sympathetic edge that makes this more than just a comedy show. I would gladly have watched more than an hour.
K Herbert

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