Coming Soon…The End!: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Tim Potter

The lady who greeted the patrons upon arrival at Northcote Town Hall for the evening’s performance of Coming Soon…The End, was delightful. She worked diligently behind the Box Office, was insightful, courteous and most hospitable. She mentioned that she was the mother of the producer and she made the ticketing transaction a brilliant experience.
Coming Soon…The End!: Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Coming Soon…The End!: Melbourne International Comedy Festival The lady who greeted the patrons upon arrival at Northcote Town Hall for the evening’s performance of Coming Soon…The End, was delightful. She worked diligently behind the Box Office, was insightful, courteous and most hospitable. She mentioned that she was the mother of the producer and she made the ticketing transaction a brilliant experience. Unfortunately, such plaudits cannot be said of the production itself. Coming Soon was a difficult encounter. It subjected its audience to hours of poorly scripted material, countless skits, most of which were illogically fashioned together, succeeding only to make the audience gawk in bemusement. The performers welcome the audience from outside the venue, suggesting the theatre is a cruise ship and we the passengers. They introduced themselves as ticket holders upon the vessel and established various characters who will be on board. This was an interesting theatrical concept, but one that could have been executed within five minutes; it took almost four times that length. Whilst patrons shivered outdoors, the cast reveled in overindulgent monologues, explaining their characters’ socio-economic background and standing. This was also where we were introduced to the production’s use of multimedia. A television was positioned at the entrance, whereby our host Gus Timeslot (David Noga) played a DVD about the ship, similar to what might be exhibited at a travel agency. There’s no question that the multimedia, while well put together, is a superfluous inclusion and merely an added extra. Furthermore, it compounded the laziness of the production: Noga struggled to operate the DVD and then halfway through realised that the volume was turned off. Upon entering the space, we were introduced to the MC of the ship (Giuseppe Mauceri) who promised an amazing experience upon the vessel. With an excellent playing space, a live music ensemble, comfortable tiered seating, projector screen and on-stage bar, all surroundings suggested that things may just improve. Unfortunately, it was to become more confusing. A stow-away was found aboard (Christie Rohr); Sir Barry Brilliant (Adrian D’Aprano), an executive president and owner of the largest multi-national conglomerate ever, claims him as his long-lost son and prevents him from being discharged from travel. The production then becomes a hazy affair, attempting to display all the highlights available to the passengers on board, whilst interweaving chunks of poetry and regular diatribes about the state of the world and how the rich are getting richer to the disadvantage of the poor. I agree that political expressions are important and need to be voiced, but in this case it would have seemed more appropriate at a university rally than in a comedy show, as part of the comedy festival. Despite all these shortcomings, there were a couple of promising performances. Ashley McPherson delighted in playing a variety of roles, shifting guises, accents and physicality. He showed assured timing and strong stage presence. Daniella Luchetti also displayed talent, showing off a beautiful singing voice, more suited to a lounge-like cabaret setting than the renditions provided to her here. Rebecca Lavindi’s short sequined dress also helped to garner the audiences’ attention. There’s no question that countless hours have gone into the making of this show, and for that, its creators have to be acknowledged. However, what they needed more than anything was an outside eye—an editor equipped with a hacksaw or some other such instrument, to pair it right back to a concise, manageable and comprehendible production. Whilst watching the performance I couldn’t help but be reminded of my young cousins forcing my grandmother to pay two dollars and watch them jump around in an over-sized jumper and clown nose for a whole afternoon. This show is for friends and family only and most likely they’ll concur with Ms Lavinda’s program notes, whereby she admits ‘it’s a rather unusual production…and I don’t really get it’. Coming Soon…The End!: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Date: 15 - 25 April Times: Tue-Sat 8.30pm, Sun 3pm Duration: 120 minutes Venue: Northcote Town Hall - Studio 1 189 High St, Northcote Prices Full $20 Concession $15 Group (10 or more) $15 Preview $10 Tightarse Tuesday $10 Matinee $15
What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Tim Potter is a contributor to ArtsHub and a local Melbourne artist and resident.

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