04 April 2011

Guest Review: Dead Cat Bounce: Caged Heat

MICF 2011
1 April 2011
The Famous Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre
to 24 April

Review by Josephine Giles

When researching Dead Cat Bounce I came across a definition of the term in, of all places, a site called Investopedia. In the world of finance it means: A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, after which the market continues to fall.

Considering the stellar reviews which DCB garnered in their previous visit to Melbourne, I’m beginning to think the finance market may not be as stupid as it seems. This “international rock and roll comedy supergroup”, as they describe themselves on their website, feels like it peaked some time ago. Their new show, Caged Heat, has several clever songs but the concept lacks unity and is crying out for a strong directorial hand.

The four member of DCB continue a tradition of rock parody made famous in the movie This is Spinal Tap. In songs ranging in style from stadium rock, rap, boy-band and even love ballad, the general tone is in the “offend as many people as we can” vein – reinforcing the image of the faux group as testosterone charged, morally vacuous, wannabe rock gods.

The strength of DCB lies in its songs, which are far better developed than the links. Led by the attractively pouting Jim Walmsley on guitar and vocals, the band give creditable renditions of the variety of styles. Despite the generally puerile humour, probably best appreciated by folk much younger than myself, some lyrics betray an underlying intelligence and even sensitivity to gender politics. "Overly Enthusiastic Contraceptive Lady" should be required listening for any bloke on what not to do, especially if planning a visit to Sweden (I don’t want to get sued here, but just think Wikileaks and join the dots...).

The show falters in the banter between the group members between songs. By flagging and then over explaining songs that should be allowed to speak for themselves (like the surprisingly historically accurate and informative "Easter Island Song’"), they give the impression they are desperate to let us know that they are actually really nice guys just pretending to be arseholes. Maybe they’re just getting to old for their own brand of humour.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com

PS: I also saw DCB and "ditto" to everything Jo says. If you keep telling us that you're a joke band, then the band really does become a joke. 

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