30 October 2006

Coming Clean

MELBOURNE FRINGE 2006
Coming Clean
Rod Quantock, Fiona Scott-Norman & The Melbourne Justice Museum

2 October 2006
Old Melbourne Gaol

A tour with Rod Quantock is always worth your time. This time the destination is the Old Melbourne Gaol (when is hanging NOT funny…). Rod leads us to join four local comedians who tackle the theme of Coming Clean.

After a quick trial in the Magistrates Court we end up in the exercise yard of the City Watchhouse. I suspect this was the first time in a watchhouse for most of the gathered audience. It’s also the first time that the space has been used as a theatre and Rod Quantock’s first public use of toilet humour.

Here we were in the same room that Chopper Reid, Squizzy Taylor, Ned Kelly and many other less famous criminals have been. It’s actually quite nice when there’s a bar, friends to chat with and an illuminated EXIT sign on the open caged doors.

Judith Lucy opened by admitting that she is such a “goody good suck” that she didn’t have any great police or arrest stories to tell – apart from being stripped searched in New Zealand after a trace of marijuana was found in her tobacco. So she came clean with the most embarrassing of stories – she got detention in school for rehearsing liturgical dance at lunchtime. To recover from the shame, she told us about the night she paid for sex. I didn’t used to like Judith– but she’s winning me over.

Fiona Scott-Noman shared her wicked life as a schoolgirl shoplifter, with some neat tips about how to hide a single down your pants. I guess it’s the 70/80s equivalent of illegally downloading an mp3. She also found herself in a police station after heading to a shop roof to snog with her boyfriend. Apparently the constabulary don’t share our sophisticated sense of humour. What do you call the device that police travel between floors on? A copulator. Boom boom. The pun led to Fiona being stripped searched and arrested for trespass.

Lawrence Leung taught us about the art of grifting, swindling and lying. After seeing his confident, comfortable and very funny performance, I want to see his full Fringe show (The Marvellous Misadventures of Puzzle Boy).

It’s all well and good to laugh along with the jolly naughtiness of the urban, middle class comedians, with their witty, political left-wing humour. We don’t usually go to see comedians like Dave Grant (he’s a bogan…..).

Dave Grant was the highlight of the evening. This was a brilliant set about his experiences with violence and arrest. He has been in rooms like this before, but with far less empathetic company. Petty law breaking really doesn’t compare to blood pissing out the face of the man you’ve hit or waking up in a cell after being beaten unconscious by the police. He is also a bloody good left wing political comedian.

Next Monday there is a different line up of comedians joining Rod and Coming Clean. I’m tempted to go back.


This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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