Sunday, 31 March 2002
John Hegley & Simon Munnery, March 31.2002
John Hegley and Simon Munnery -The Journals
at 7 Alfred Place Melbourne, March 31 until April 21, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Let's face it. The Brits have a handle on comedy like no other nation. John Hegley and Simon Munnery in their joint show, The Journals, are proof.
The pair are an unlikely but fascinating duo. Hegley is Elvis Costell with dancing hips and bonkers performance poetry. He even has the black spectacles and he makes a virtue of them.
He elevates glasses wearers to royalty and castigates contact lenses users. His audience applause with spectacles' arms is a highlight.
Hegley's journals are fabricated from his childhood memories in the suburbs of Luton, a satellite town of London. His snatches of diary entries of a ten year old are ironic, cheeky and often surprising. He plays an electric mandolin and sings silly songs about his Luton bungalow.
His controlled mania, skipping gait and compelling gaze keep us attentive like children just in case he picks on us next and we don't know the answer.
Munnery is a different story. He enters as Alan Parker, Urban Warrior, a character we saw at the 2001 Comedy Festival. Parker is compelling and recognnisable if you know any ill-read anarchists.
The character is an intellectual and political dwarf. He thinks anarchy is not working for the man and a band is just as good without the musical bits.
Parker is the master of stating the bleeding obvious. His arguments are built on sand. He babbles mad and illogical capitalist conspiracy theories. Everyone is a fascist, everything is a fascist plot. Breaking rules is the rule.
The insane high point of the show is Hegley and Munnery in a dramatised version of one of the Journals. They travel in verse and by train to a seaside talent quest.
John plays himself. Munnery plays Tony, A glib West Indian, the gay Maitre d', a fey mermaid and an 80 year beauty with a coat hanger in her beard. Yes. Coat hanger and beard.
They have a some achingly funny sound effect gags, bad mime and they play as a vaudeville double act who are hosts of the talent quest.
The Journals is inexplicable, funny and weird. Go see them. They are sensational.
By Kate Herbert