23 June 2011

Review: Negative Energy Inc

Negative Energy Inc
Ash Flanders
19 June 2011
Hares & Hyenas Cafe Bookshop
LAST SHOW this Sunday,  26 June

Ash Flanders asked me not to review his first solo show because it was his first solo show, but he should know by now that you don't always get what you ask for in this "industry".

Why, why, why, why, why hasn't anyone useful discovered Ash?

I'm not asking this, he is. (I've already discovered him and written things about him that his mum likes to read.)

Sisters Grimm co-founder and star of Dracula's theatre restaurant (don't scoff; there are very few performers with full time jobs that let them wear that much make up and prance about in front of a full house every night), has struggled with forging a career in an industry that has a 1% chance of success, so he may as well share his pain with the people who want him to succeed.

Ash knows how important it is to bring the world down with him and Negative Energy Inc takes us from his teenage years at Christian Camp on a bed with a vinyl mattress, to the taste of stardom and rampant free sex of the Edinburgh Fringe, to the discovery that his publicity photo is simply too gay.

Melding stand up with show tune, this is one of the first times we've been allowed glimpses of the real  Ash (OK, apart from Connie in Cell Block Booty) and this honesty brings a whole new dimension to his performance. This show will get even better when he really lets the mask come off. The stand ups that we come back to again and again are the ones who show us their hearts, and this is bloody hard stuff for people who want a career pretending to be other people.

In the meantime, Ash was born to be the horsewoman from Judge Judy and is so fucking funny that you may be inspired to see him at Drac's. And you get to wander around the super-gorgeous Hares and Hyenas bookshop, look at books that you don't find in Readings and discuss how many pics you think have been photoshopped. And the lovely Dave Barclay adds some alternative eye candy. 

There's one performance left. I know comparing performers is naff, but if you love the likes of Taylor Mac, John Cameron Mitchell and iOTA, you'll love Ash Flanders. Don't regret missing a dose of this wonderful negativity.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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