02 April 2011

Review: Misanthropology

MICF 2011
Eddie Perfect in Misanthropology
A Token Event
1 April 2011
The Famous Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre
to 24 April 

Misanthropology may be the wankiest show title around, but not to worry because everyone will recommend Eddie Perfect in the always-gorgeous Spiegeltent because musical cabaret doesn't get much slicker than this.

From Shane Warne The Musical to his unforgettable Mack in Threepenny Opera and his musican-next-door sweetness in TV's Offspring, Eddie never fails to impress – but in his solo show he's free to share his concern that our society seems to be stalling in its anthropological progress. 

There's our obsession with the intrinsic goodness of "primitives", the faux caring of eco-lodge visitors and the obscene fashion sense of cyclists.  All are easy targets because they are us; or our neighbours if we don't want to admit our own hypocrisies.  And this kind of work would be enough to leave most Comedy Festival audiences happy enough to buy another bottle of fizz. But why settle for audience love when you can push them further?

Boob jobs could be controversial and "Daddy's Tits" should become the hold music for every cosmetic surgery.  Parents paying for their daughters's fucked personal image is one thing, but it's a brave performer who tackles rape to get a giggle. A failed rape joke is one thing that will assure that I never waste my time seeing a comedian again. I will see Eddie again. His material about professional footballers attacking a child for not being an adult is the best I've seen this issue presented on the stage – and the best Kerrie-Ann ever.  

Director Craig Ilott (director and and co-creator of the divine Smoke and Mirrors) has ensured  Misanthropology is perfected to a level that surpasses most on the cabaret circuit. Working with someone as awesome as Eddie is a good start, but Ilott understands the need for story and connection and shapes a performance that is created to be shared with an audience, which is so different from a show created to be watched. I've only become aware of him this year and will try to make up for missing his earlier works by seeing anything he directs from now on.

In true self-reflection style, the last song of the night is dedicated to the theatre and another great director, our own Barrie Kosky.  (And it's an even braver performer who takes on Barrie... )  If you haven't seen a Bazza show, Eddie's "Too Fucking Long" song is so spot on that you might not need to see a Bazza show. It's everything that keeps people away from "serious" theatre and everything that the people who go hate "but say that they love it." If there isn't an Oz Co grant that can send Eddie around to sing it to every director and soon-to-be director, perhaps we can send a collection bucket around during the interval(s) of any show over 90 minutes.

Oh Eddie Perfect ... dammit, you are.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com


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