Tuesday 20 April 1999

Ed Byrne, 20 April 1999

Ed Byrne at Athenaeum 1 until April 25, 1999
Melbourne International Comedy FEstival
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

It ain't over till the skinny Irish guy sings, says the old opera adage. Irish comic, Ed Byrne manages to create a fabulous comedy routine out of Mozart's opera, Cosi Fan Tutti.

Byrne has the easy, witty patter we expect from the Irish and seems to be liked by both men and women, youngies and oldies in the audience. He is, in his own words, "What Hanson will look like in five years"; presumably he means lean, fair and sweet-faced.

His entire seventy minutes is constructed around the framework of his personal story about being dragged screaming by his girlfriend to see Cosi on St. Patrick's Day, their anniversary. The topic, he says, is "the things we do for love," but might well be, "The things we do to catch our lovers cheating on us."

Byrne is intelligent and articulate but never patronises or under-estimates his audience. He has mastered the art of re-incorporation. He takes detours from his opera story at the Shaftesbury Theatre where the arty set sit in comfort and Byrne himself turns into a complete yobbo.

He meanders into material about chick flicks (costume dramas) and guy flicks (car chases and explosion), bad 80's fashion (remember leg warmers?) and he apologises for River Dance.

He rants about people who talk during movies and about women who compare boyfriends. He complains about US bars which have banned smoking and the Americans lack of an irony gland.

But his satirical angle on Cosi Fan Tutti is hilarious. The stories in opera are always idiotic but Byrne makes this one sound like the worst kind of daytime soap opera. He cunningly weaves contemporary relationship references into the Mozart narrative about two men who accept a bet to test their fiancees' fidelity by disguising themselves as Albanians - yes, Albanians- very romantic.

The utter absurdity of the singing, the characters, the disguises, the bet, the time lines, everything is ridiculed. The thought of seeing the Australian Opera doing Mozart next week is turning into a parody of itself.

One gag about being skinny nearly brought the house down around him. Ed Byrne really cheered me up. If he can make this reviewer laugh after twenty-something comedy shows, he must be good.

by Kate Herbert

Monday 19 April 1999

Sleepers, 19 April 1999

 by Garrie Hutchinson
La Mama until April 25, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There is a horror in hearing spoken, the experiences of victims of war. When we see footage of individual Kosovo refugees speaking of their pain, loss and grief, it touches us in a way no war correspondent's report can.

Sleepers by Garrie Hutchinson is directed and designed by James Clayden. This is a piece of documentary theatre about the World War Two Prisoners of War who were abused by the Japanese.

Documentary theatre is an inadequate description of this work. It is an almost visceral experience of the atrocities visited upon our men in Singapore, Changi, Malaysia and on the Burma railway.

Clayden allows the 'written evidence' of soldiers, including Colonel Weary Dunlop, other Australians and several Japanese, to speak for itself. There is some narration by "The traveller" who represents Hutchinson himself who travelled this route in 1997 and the stage directions are spoken aloud to alienate us even further.

Clayden's production is visually and vocally economical using only a transparent gauze army tent as a set and focussing on voice, slides, film and movement. Images of grave sites, jungle and the death march are projected onto scrim and performers. Bryony Marks’ pulse of sound accompanies the piece.

Performer, Peter Green spends the entire hour inside the tent, referring to notes, reading text, moving gently and quietly inside his mosquito net world that could be his a prison or his army headquarters. Dancer, Shelley Lasica, shifts around the edges of the tent, creating abstract shape that is often simply distracting.

It is Green's almost emotionless delivery that heightens the horror of the images. One soldier decided to be dead during his incarceration; "I would remain dead until the departure of the Japs."

The relationships between prisoners and the Japanese were complex. One Japanese, "feared the prisoner would be killed in my presence." An Australian sees his Japanese interrogator as "a hated intimate."

We are confronted with gruesome details of a beating that left a man broken and blackened after 900 blows, or of men with ulcers infested with insects and no bandages. "I am amazed that one could bleed so much and still be alive," says one soldier. "There is a lot to grumble about," understates another.

We marvel at the capacity of body and mind to continue under such hideous conditions and even to heal and survive. Sleepers is a poignant, moving and chastening experience.

By Kate Herber

Thursday 15 April 1999

98.4% DNA being human , 15 April 1999

By desoxy Theatre
David Williamson Theatre Swinburne University Prahran until May 2, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There is a peculiar irony in watching Teresa Blake and Daniel Witton of desoxy Theatre in their physical theatre show, 98.4% DNA being human  As they explore the bizarrre notion of human evolution, we are observing the equally unbelievable things they are doing with their two bodies.

Our fascination begins with their first moments of primordial movement in dim light. It is impossible to discern whether these two figures are male or female. Witton and Blake work in a state of near-androgyny that is enhanced by the silvery mesh body suits with hood, the musculature and the shared weightbearing of the performers.

The central concept, inherent in the title, is that humans have 98.4% of their DNA in common with apes. Only 1.6% separates us from the animals; genetic engineering has only this narrow bridge to cross.

The initial action follows roughly, human evolution from primordial slime, through lizard, fish and bird phases of life. The physical work is elemental and the soundscape designed by Darren Steffen, heightens this effect. At times, the two are not merely indistinguishable in gender, but are transformed into a single creature.

The evolution continues as these mute, non-specific creatures exchange bodily fluids then genitalia. Finally, we are confronted with sexual humanoids that are astonished by their first utterance, "You're looking stunning this evening." It has its hilarious moments.

The performers wear body microphones inside their headgear that, initially, make the vocal sounds seem strangely and effectively disembodied. When they later use language, the sounds more clearly emanated directly from the performers.

The physical skills of these two are exceptional. Their unity of spirit and body is dazzling. They roll and mutate as if made of clay. They lift, leap, fold and twirl. They even walk on the rear wall in an extraordinary illusion of walking on the moon.

After human evolution reaches awareness and then civilisation, concepts of life and genetics become part of the vocal text. They examine elephants and chimpanzees then explore death and regeneration.

The performance itself has evolved over its three year lifespan. It loses some focus in the final 20 minutes and could do with some editing or clarifying, but it is a fine physical theatre performance.
By Kate Herbert

Wednesday 14 April 1999

Secret Bridesmaid's Business, 14 April 1999

by Elizabeth Coleman
Playbox at Merlin Theatre from Aril 13 to May 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Why do people have weddings when so many are such tense occasions? Alcoholic Uncle Alf gets drunk, the flowers wilt, the bridesmaids' dresses are wrong, the photographer's late - the list of woes is endless.

The one hitch that never occurs to you is that the groom is having an affair with the bride's friend: not her best friend, mind you, but a friend nonetheless. Here begins the litany of wedding eve disasters for Meg Bacon (Ulli Birve') in Elizabeth Coleman's new comedy, Secret Bridesmaids' Business.

Meg's bridesmaids, Angela and Lucy (Tara Morice, Kate Johnston) suspect her fiance', James (Fred Whitlock) has recently had an affair with Meg's workmate, Naomi (Rachael Beck). We cross all our limbs hoping it is not true.

Coleman's script, directed by Catherine Hill, is a light-hearted romp with lots of laughs at the expense of the entire bridal party. We never see the actual wedding, only the chaos of the preceding twelve hours in the bride's city motel room.

The whole cast has a fine time with the gags although, at times, some are pushing too hard. The highlight is marvellous Joan Sydney as Colleen, mother-of-the bride. Sydney is a consummate comic performer who delivers lines with exceptional timing, a broad North country accent and some hilarious physical business.

Mum has so much invested in her daughter's wedding she does not realise she has taken over the whole shebang right down to folding the place cards and approving the fabric on the bridesmaids' shoes.

Tara Morice is very funny and suitably gauche as Meg's oldest friend, Angela, who is conservative, married with children and committed to leaving Meg in the dark about the alleged affair.

The dynamic of the play is uneven. The main problem lies with the interruptive device of using a monologue to unmask each character's inner world. The story would be better served by the emotional detail being revealed in dialogue.

The play keeps it simple. It has no sub-text so it can concentrate on the central issue of friendship: do you lie to protect your friends or do you risk hurting them with the truth? The point is made early in act one and so seems laboured by act two. But the jokes keep on coming. It is a comedy after all - and a good one.

Sunday 11 April 1999

Craig Charles, 11 April 1999

 at Athenaeum Theatre 1 until April 25, 1999
Melbourne International Comedy Festival

If you are a Red Dwarf fan (ABC TV) or you like really crude comedy, Liverpudlian, Craig Charles will be your sort of stand-up. There are glimmers of genuinely funny material and he has talent, timing and a high profile. However, if you do not find funny, jokes about excreta, penises, bodily fluids and masturbation, this show is not for you.

There is a difference between common denominator and lowest common denominator humour. Charles is the latter. He is obnoxious, loud, grotesque, loves "sick jokes" and sexual innuendo - but so do 12 year old boys.

The geeks, yobbos, bozos and booze-heads in the audience seems to like him but there were long, yawning periods when my entire row did not crack a smile. He would probably go down well in the Leagues Clubs.

Charles is determined to be the "Bad Boy" on stage. Nothing has changed since he was here about ten years ago. He galumphs about the stage, swills beer, complains about being forced to drink shandies to keep him sober during the hour-long delay to his show, attacks women, Americans, the royal family.

His smartest and probably funniest material is five minutes of "things that come to mind when you bounce a soccer ball on your head." He did this on Hey, Hey It's Saturday, probably because it is the cleanest of his material. It is full of quirky musings such as "Why don't people who believe in reincarnation leave their money to themselves?"

His routine about "Safety Nazis" is funny. While he savours a cigarette, he piles derision on those who carp about passive smoking. He describes the situation as "Tobacco Apartheid". Picture those poor outcasts, smoking outside the office block in the freezing wind. Charles is having none of it.

He does some good material in what he describes as his obligatory section about sex and relationships: "the stand-up union demands it." You will also be surprised at what Kylie Minogue and Hitler have in common and it's not the moustache.

Charles is certainly full of surprises. He does a long, rather peculiarly exhibitionistic section about his surprising underwear, standing with his trousers around his ankles. He intersperses three quite sweet and romantic poems amongst the crass material and these stop the jocks in the audience in their tracks. He reads an excerpt from his recently released book called The Log. I can't say I enjoyed him, but others might.

By Kate Herbert

Saturday 10 April 1999

Jeff Green, 10 April 1999

Lower Melbourne Town Hall until April 25, 1999
Melbourne International Comedy Festival

English comic, Jeff Green, had very entertainingly wriggly hips the last time he was here. He still has them but he's keeping them covered with a suit jacket this Comedy Festival. His material is funny enough without the hips.

The impish Green has 'charming' all wrapped up. He is sweet and quiet, speaking almost in a whisper into his hand-held microphone and scampering all over the stage.

He begins with his cute observations about Melbourne: Aussie rules, cheap hotels, the enormous MCG which could occupy Yorkshire. Our coffee keeps you awake for a week, our road signs warn us not to doze. Could there be a correlation?

He chats benignly, almost tentatively, with us. He lulls us into a false expectation of niceness at the start, only to launch into about forty minutes of very funny, sometimes lurid ("Have I gone too far now?") gags about sex.

His main thrust - an appropriately sexual pun- is the fine balance of the genders in relationships. He gives both teams a big serve but says outrageous things about women with a mischievous grin, cleverly fooling us into feeling that nothing he says is really sexist. Ha!

His list of things you will never hear in a relationship from men and women, is hilarious and well-observed. "Darling", says the imaginary man, "tell me that again but in more detail." He observes that, since living with his girlfriend, he has discovered all sorts of things he never knew he needed: romantic candles feature high on the list, probably horoscopes do too.

He taunts us with the frightening reality that we confuse loving with being a bloody nuisance. He compares humans desire to mate for life with bad-tempered swans and gladiatorial walruses that also have one partner. If the audience weren't laughing so hard we'd have all been crying.

When he comments on the "sartorial inelegance" of single men all the women groan in recognition. How many women have bought an entire wardrobe for their partners having thankfully got them out of track pants or stubbies?

He reminisces about the insane behaviour of mad girlfriends. He rambles about how to maintain your dignity, find your keys, hold onto your wallet and have sex while you're drunk. Green has some interesting tricks involving elastic that may be useful to know.

By Kate Herbert

Wednesday 7 April 1999

Good News Week, 7 April 1999

Melbourne Town Hall April 7 and 21, 1999
Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The live recording of Good News Week on April 7 took so long, they should call it Good News expect-to-be-here-all-Week.

It ran two and a half hours and a couple of the overseas guests, Lyn Ferguson and Rich Hall, were looking twitchy at 9.30pm when they were expected on stage elsewhere in the Melbourne Town Hall.

The ex-ABC show, directed by Sydney comedy king, Ted Robinson, derives its format from a similar, if more political and highbrow program, in England. Switch on to Channel Ten on Sunday nights and you might catch one of the four programs recorded live at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

The cast of six were being very naughty. Host, Paul McDermott and regular, Mikie Robbins, were running hot with heaps of ad-libbed material, much of which will end up on the editing room floor either because it was either boring or riddled with swearing.

In addition to regular team captain, Julie McCrossin, other guests, were Julia Zemiro (Totally Full Frontal), and Scottish comedian, Phil Kaye, disappointingly here only for The Great Debate..

Kaye was the star of this program. He, like Robbins, is a rapid response comedy machine but, happily, he resisted pandering to the high proportion of teen-tele-kiddies in the audience. If only he were doing a solo show. I'd be there in a flash to hear what this razor-sharp mind does with rehearsed material.

The writers of Good News Week, (George Dodd, Steve Johnston etc) are witty, smart and succinct, the news media providing them with infinite material for gags. Nothing is sacred: John Howard, Tim Fisher, Phil Coles all get a serve. Even Kosovo can be funny.

In this special program, two of our comedy icons make special guest appearances to thunderous applause: Flacco (Paul Livingstone) and the Sandman (Steve Abbott). Flacco, with his curlicue of hair pasted to his bald pate, babbles about crossword clues in his peculiar way.

The Sandman, if possible even more eccentric, manages to be a loser and a winner simultaneously in his story, "Trying to be remarkable is painful. Trying to be remembered is humiliating."

Then, Surprise Surprise! Billy Bragg strolls on to the stage to sing a mad song he purportedly wrote with the very dead Woody Guthrie. This show never ceases to astonish.

By Kate Herbert

Tuesday 6 April 1999

Franklin Ajaye, April 6 1999

Franklin Ajaye Trades Hall, April 6 until April 27, 1999

Franklin Ajaye has a voice like a tropical breeze. He croons his stories as he roams about the stage at the Trades Hall, peppering every joke with deep chuckles and chortles. We're lucky he's chosen to settle in Melbourne having left L.A.

His stand-up show is set in musical parentheses. He begins and ends with some very cool improvised jazz pieces played with Eric, his brother, a musical whizz who evidently played with Taj Mahal. Ajaye plays some fine clarinet with the exceptional Eric on electric bass and soprano saxophone.

This was a clever and comfortable show which ran as smooth as silk for nearly two hours with the audience responding heartily to Ajaye's intelligent comedy and quirky observations about the world at large, his past in the US and his present in Australia.

His laid-back, smoky jazz club style of chat seems to suit what he observes to be the Aussie temperament. "In Australia, the black man wears sun block and the white man is relaxed," he tells his US mates.

He teases us about our innumerable and inexplicable public holidays. Why celebrate the Queen's Birthday when we want a republic? ('Cos it's a day off, dummy.) He has a go at the hapless Melbourne weather forecasters who still never get it right.

He compares Melbourne with Seattle -the most livable US city which has rain almost 365 days a year - and with San Francisco, one of the most breath-takingly beautiful and cultured cities on the planet. Be happy with those comparisons.

He tosses his plaited hair and quips about trams. "No-one would ever make an action movie on a tram." He compares our cops favourably with the LA thug police.

There are leisurely tales about being a student at Columbia in the late 60's early 70's. His story of coping with an "F" for Physical Anthropology (What on earth is that subject?) by virtually giving up studying is hilarious.

He goes global with a nod at dictators, Milosovic and Saddam and at the chaos which is Russia under Yeltsin. It is hard to get laughs out of poverty, inflation, war and tyranny but Ajaye manages to do it.

Ajaye is seen often on The Panel but do not hold that against him. he is stylish, funny, easy on the ear and the eye and has an oblique view of the world which is worth hearing.

By Kate Herbert

Monday 5 April 1999

Barry Humphries Remember You're Out, April 5 1999

At The Princess Theatre
 April 5 1999 for a limited season

Barry Humphries has been away for a long time but he has certainly done his homework. Remember You're Out is topical, accurate and as acerbic as one would expect from the lips of the acid-tongued Melbourne boy who made good in the Queen's own land.

It is an extraordinary feat to be on stage for almost three hours, alone apart from his accompanist, Andrew Ross, and the odd audience member who is dragged up to be dressed up and ridiculed.

You know Les Patterson, Sandy Stone and Edna Everage from the screen but it is mind-boggling to experience Humphries' alteregos live.

Before our little respite (interval) we hear snatches of Humphries history: a childhood song in a sailor suit and the very first Edna sketch performed in 1955 with Noel Ferrier as the straight man. Edna was just as self-centred in this truly suburban incarnation as she offers her sleep-out to the 1956 Olympic athletes. She harps on about axminster, laminex, Blue Hills and her son, Kenny.

Gallipoli veteran, Sandy Stone, RIP, appearing these days as a ghost, provides a prolonged poignant interlude in the hilarity. The monologue incorporates astute social commentary with Sandy's naive old world observations. His reminiscences about his Glen Iris home, now the site of a supermarket, 'neo-Georgian Tuscan townhouses", the local cinema now a Blockbuster video store and his wife Beryl's capacity to survive bereavement unscarred, are sublimely tragi-comic.

The first half closes with a surprise appearance of Les Patterson, determined to clear his name of Sydney Olympic graft. He is grotesque, obscene, lecherous, offensive, sexist and an embarrassment to the Australian image - but we laugh till it hurts. Don't ask me to explain why.

The second half is a phenomenal 80 minutes of mostly ad-libbing by Edna who is no longer a Dame. She wants to be one of the ordinary people. " I'm no different from you. Except I'm rich and famous and you're not."

Edna is rude and patronising to everybody 'in the nicest possible way." She taunts the front rows, lowering their already buried self-esteem. While phone-ordering take away meals for a couple even Edna was disarmed by the phone waitress's response to "This is Edna Everage." "Who?", the waitress squeaked.

There are gladdies, silly songs with witty rhymes, frocks, wigs, grimaces and sneers. Edna is a perfect blend of glee and malice. The show's a treat.

By Kate Herbert

Sunday 4 April 1999

Tripod , April 4, 1999

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
at Melbourne Town Hall 7pm Tues-Sun until April 25, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on April 4, 1999

Cute and funny comedy-musical trios are popular. Perhaps three performers allow far more variation that two, three voices provide a bigger sound, the repertoire can be more extensive and the guitar can always be handed to one of the others.

Tripod (Get it? A three-legged stand.) is a cute and funny trio. The three may not have the impeccable musical skill of Combo Fiasco or the extraordinary, mad comic antics of the old Doug Anthony All Stars or Found Objects (they used to be a trio too,) but they do have charm and some funny material.

It is particularly the 20-something male trios that are a hit with the 18-30's audiences on the comedy scene and Tripod, alias Gatesy, Scott and Yonnie, fit the profile. Gatesy ("dial 775 DANGEROUS") looks as though he stepped out of a K-Mart catalogue, the sleek, smart and bespectacled Scott is truly "Geek Chic" while Yonnie looks and acts like a pixie alien.

Event though the three promote the swivel-hipped Gatesy as the sexy one, all three, in spite of their Star Trek look-alike outfits which make them look like chemical engineering students at a fancy-dress party, will be pulling birds (or boys) after the show from the predominantly university-looking crowd. Funny is considered very cute and attractive in men. Be warned gals: only in men.

Their material is very uneven and parts could do with an edit and a director's eye, but there are some very good moments. "Is it O.K. if I Stalk You" is a clever musical parody of a stalker. "Everything Fits in the Second Drawer Down" hands out advice to stuff all and sundry into that drawer below the cutlery.

Scott has a fantasy of playing 'furniture-based' rock music and "I Wanna Be the Guy Who Makes the Plastic TV's for IKEA" is the first of the series. Their one-line folk song is a treat and "Words Can't Express What You Mean to Me" is hilarious.

If you are a pop music follower, you'll understand the musical gag of swapping music by Prodigy, a loud, thrashy band, with the cutesy lyrics of :"I'm a Barbie Girl" by Aqua, the Danish pop band.

Their physical antics go on a bit long but the basic idea of Montu falcon-headed God of War was good and their new dance craze, The Sailor Dance, is funny and the hour passes entertainingly.
By Kate Herbert

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

Thursday 1 April 1999

Jimeoin April 1, 1999

Melbourne  International Comedy Festival
at Melbourne Town Hall . April 1-3, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Jimeoin can make a thousand people feel as if he's their best mate. It's as if he is nodding and winking at every single one of us with a "know what I mean?" sort of glint in his eye.

He is laugh-out-loud funny - laugh-out-very-loud funny, if my neighbour's hearty guffawing was any indication. "This isn't really observational comedy; it's just observations," he quips. At every story, the crowd hoots, nods madly, agreeing with every nutty thing he says. "It's true. I do that too. He's right."

Jimeoin just about charms the pants off everybody in the audience. In fact, he charmed the coat off a woman in the front row in the first minute. His humour is gentle, common denominator jokery, never lowest common denominator, which is a relief. There are very few bottom jokes.

There is no cultivated "cool" behaviour, no superiority or making the audience feel stupid, which is the hallmark of some comics. He sends himself up. "I've got no lips. People think I've got no teeth." He even finds his Irish accent hilarious, as do we. He's pretty huggable actually.

There is nothing accidental about this comedy either. Jimeoin has comedy craft as well as natural funniness. His style is warm, slow, easy and laconic. He has impeccable timing, his physical humour, especially his 'digging" dancing, is a scream and he has developed re-incorporation of ideas into an art form. He's really a clever boots.

His thoughts wander as he strolls about the stage in jeans and a Wrangler jacket. He chats about the emotive power of eyebrows, the fact that people are sexier on Thursday than they are on Monday (think about it) and how we all look better in the mirror than in photos.

He can get a joke out of big toes or light globes, opening packets of pasta and bunsen burners. (Remember bunsen burners?) He even manages to get a huge roar out of Princess Diana's funeral. Apparently her death was caused by a famous tenor. This was my biggest laugh.

He ends the show with a couple of Rock and Pop songs after he announces his encore. It would be embarrassing if we weren't there when he came back on for it. Nobody was even considering leaving the Melbourne Town Hall until he had well and truly picked up his beer, put on his Wrangler jacket and well and truly gone.

K Herbert