Howard the Musical: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

An excellent poster designed housing a great caricature of Howard in Bluestone, a very cute and cosy restaurant par, Howard the Musical - part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival - promised a whole lot.
Howard the Musical: Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Howard the Musical: Melbourne International Comedy Festival An excellent poster designed housing a great caricature of Howard in Bluestone, a very cute and cosy restaurant par, Howard the Musical promised a whole lot. As the lights went out the anticipation grew; for the first two minutes at least, for the next 13 we were just bored with only the fumbling behind a see-through red curtain to entertain us. It was during this time that my date pointed out that three of the four par cans (lights) where rigged upside down, a minor fire hazard. This was only the beginning of the technical let downs which continued throughout the show and included; painfully slow scene changes (reminiscent of the Howard years), poorly focused wash lights missing the actors completely, random lighting changes not supported by climatic action and a third time lucky audio cue. To top it all off, an un-obliging microphone of which the technician himself was attempting to use to deliver the credits, failed. This made the final scene difficult to comprehend with the three actors dancing/exercising on stage in Australian tracksuits to MGMT only to receive a blackout and the return of the house music. A confused audience awaited another few minutes for the house lights to follow suit. If you’re slightly partial to sympathising with Howard – this is a show for you. In fact, in parts I could even see him cracking a smile at its content. The only wit arrived midway with an impersonation of the SBS news reporter Lee Lin Chin. By this stage the queasy levels were high and though they continued, a rare smile arised from the just shy of clever ‘refuecheese’ who ‘gouda get out of here, they camembert it anymore, they’ve just got to break brie’. A feeling at this stage I was sympathetic to. Although the supporting male actor was let down by his lip sinking skills in a rendition of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ his talents in mouthing the rest of the cast’s lines during musical numbers was spot on! Although the strongest of the three, the supporting female actor was not without her flaws misjudging her mark, eclipsing the projection screen with her silhouette, providing a light laugh with a wry smile and a step to the left. The ‘Howard’ character was good, but the costume changes proved a challenge, sometimes arriving with no glasses, other times with the wrong ones, delivering content we had heard before. The only irony came from the bright green EXIT light blinking directly above the projection screen blocking the pathway. There was hazard, after hazard. Now in the post-Howard era I was expecting to say goodbye to the sexist, homophobic jokes but alas, there where plenty. Even a jab at a paedophile joke, this has never been nor will it ever be humorous content. If nothing else please, CUT IT OUT! If The Adelaide Independent Weekly is correct in posing, "If television producers are looking to fund a new show, the cast of Howard the Musical would be contenders for Australia's next successful skit show." Australian television is surely doomed. One of this year’s ‘see it to believe it’s! Howard the Musical: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Date: 15 - 25 April Times: Wed-Fri & Wed-Sat For ticket and meal deal arrive 7.30 Show starts 8.30pm Duration: 60 minutes Venue: Bluestone Restaurant Bar * 349 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Prices: Dinner and Show $35 Show without meal $15

Molly Whelan

Thursday 16 April, 2009

About the author

Molly Whelan is inches away from finishing her Bachelor of Creative Writing and is a Melbourne based producer working on various festivals, productions and exhibitions.