Sunday, 4 April 1999

Rod Quantock, 4 April 1999

Melbourne  International Comedy Festival
at The Capitol Theatre 8.15pm Tues -Sun until April 25, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on April 4

The adulation continues: I am still head of the Rod Quantock fan club. He's a comic genius and his new show for the Comedy Festival is everything you want from our lone, truly political stand-up comic.

The show is called Eureka! A Blueprint for the Revolution the title for which arose in October last year when he chose the historic Capitol Theatre as his venue. It was threatened with demolition, so up went the call to arms and Rod named the show accordingly.

Although The Capitol was subsequently saved, Quantock still sees the need for revolution amongst the apathetic population of Victoria. We mumbled mutinously for only a minute about tram conductors being axed, usless ticket machines being installed, City Link taking all our taxes and using it without a pass being a crime.

We are "distracted and divided" from revolution by all the diversions in Melbourne's calendar: Christmas, followed by Summer football, Grand Prix, Moomba, the real footy season. The only even-free weeks are pre-Christmas.

Quantock is unashamedly a left-wing comedian. He has a social conscience which compels him to question the building of a MacDonald's on Bakery Hill, the renaming of the MCG, the cutting down of ancient elms in Albert Park and the sad fact that the social events of the year are the Murdoch and Kroeger weddings.

Quantcok rambles around in his extraordinary labyrinthine mind, talking in parentheses, pausing, digressing, loping across the stage with ease and confidence. He is saddened and maddened by our world. His only entertainment is at the expense of those men in high places who have all the power and money. John Elliot gets a serve as does our Premier, Steve Vizard, Murdoch: the list goes on.

With witty detours and cosy references to our Australian culture, he sweetens the venom he expresses for our governments, privatisation, amalgamation and "Compulsive" Competitive Tendering. His gateway to Melbourne idea is a joy. Why not have an old, metal farm gate with a chain for visitors to open and shut on the way in?

He does not omit criticism of the working class heroes either, some of whom he describes as "drunk, ignorant sexist bastards - but at least they're there for you." Quantock is always there for us. He should be knighted - but he wouldn't accept it.

By Kate Herbert

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