Sydney, Sydney Fringe Festival 2014

Cut & Paste, SFF 2014

0 Comments 17 September 2014

Open mic nights can be hit and miss. Their strength – the opportunity for performers to have a captive audience for trying new material – can also be their downfall. Luckily, Cut & Paste, presented by Rock Surfers Theatre Company, is selective of its talent. Co-curators of the bi-monthly event, Phil Spencer and Jimmy Dalton, describe their line-ups as carefully prepared and “glad wrapped”for audience enjoyment. The formula is simple: six acts, ten minutes each, and a raffle. The result is very entertaining, and certainly less messy than something put together with plastic scissors and Clag paste.

It’s Monday night but there is standing room only. Thanks to the boys from The Chaser, the Giant Dwarf has become a hub for quirky, psuedo-intellectual performance with regular showcases like The Chaser’s Empty Vessel and Erotic Fan Fiction.

The performers are a strange smorgasbord of musicians, actors, comedians and poets. The Year 6 prefects of Yarramadoon Public School (grown women in costume) leap on stage in legionnaires hats and high waisted tracksuits to present the history of their convict town. While this act turns out to be a plug for an upcoming great debate event, the audience still laps up the cringe-worthy tales about bogan Target and felon scavenger hunts, and a special mention must go to the inclusion of the beloved recorder accompanying the performance.

‘The 5 Step Guide to Manhood, performed by duo Small Town (James Brown and Matt Prest) cleverly parodies the formula of success seminars. Their physicality is captivating; from explaining how to achieve the exaggerated man stance, to a dramatic practice in the regular release of hysterical man crying, and a musical dedication to their dads, the boys offer accessible humour that challenges the assumptions of modern masculinity.

‘Lovelyperformed by Jackson Davis and Carly Young uses multimedia to pay homage to the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. A series of shot-for-shot recreations with screen grabs and camera, side by side, of scenes from some of his most recent movies, resurrects the intensity and fervour of the secretive and successful actor. Despite a few technical issues, Davis and Young have potential to be the next act with a dedicated cult following.

In ‘Think Twice, Ivan Cheng masterfully weaves prosaic monologue with punchy physicality to explore pop culture. His performance moves from lyrical interpretations of Celine Dion to double entendres of Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality. His ironic anecdotes and singing amongst smoke machines contrast starkly to the parody of earlier acts creating an aura of mystery and mischief.

The closing act was a gutsy country music performance by Fanny Lumsden and her Double Bassist, Dan Freeman. Their toe-tapping tunes and cheeky melodic duets took us on a ride through the countryside. When requested for an encore they broke into a surprise rendition of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’, before finishing with a macabre number about a violent uncle who once shot off his own toe, which highlights the range of hilarious and absorbing performances that characterised the night.

You can’t be sure what you’re going to get at Cut & Paste, but with such a variety, there is sure to be something to get you in stitches, even if it is just the ridiculous raffle prizes and funny fillers

Keep your eye on Rock Surfers Theatre Company to catch the details of the next Cut & Paste.

Reviewed by Eliza Berlage.

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