Shirley Billing - Mr & Mrs Crapp: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Shirley Billing in Mr & Mrs Crapp - part of the Melbourne Interantional Comedy Festival - about as funny as putting your hand in a blender, and then...
Shirley Billing - Mr & Mrs Crapp: Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Shirley Billing - Mr & Mrs Crapp: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Firstly before I get into this review I would like to give mention to an extraordinary warm up comedian named Liz Carr. Liz may not be too familiar to Australian audiences mainly due to the fact that this is actually her first outing from the UK. Also from the information I can gather this performance was a last minute affair so unfortunately there may not be much opportunity of seeing her perform this side of the pond in the foreseeable future. She does however have a website: but before clicking onto it I must pre-warn you - Liz is a wheelchair bound Lesbian comedian with a no hold bars approach to comedy so if you are easily offended and struggle to see the funny side of minority types like herself this may not be your thing. If on the other hand you are looking for a remarkable comedic talent with more original material then Armani, get clicking! Now onto Shirley Billing in Mr & Mrs Crapp; to be totally frank with you all - ten minutes into this show I was actually contemplating walking out. About as funny as putting your hand in a blender was what came to mind at the time but then somehow something changed for me and in the end I have to say, I actually enjoyed the evening. Shirley is pretty well known on the national comedy scene first making a name for herself in the Circus Oz Band as ‘The Ukulele Lady’ she’s most certainly not your average run-of-the-mill stand up comedian and as this show proves she is not afraid to take a few chances. This show sees Shirley playing a multitude of different characters as well as some original music to tell the story of when she lost her sense of humour. After her initial song and then opening scene (acted out pretty badly I have to say) with her therapist - Ms Rachel Purchase, I was pretty confused and ready to watch the largest train wreck in Melbourne Comedy Festival history. Amazingly however once everything started to unfold, the show took on a totally different energy and became a pretty good showcase to highlight the talents of this performer. With such characters as the Godmother, Brother, and even Shirley as a child, you really get a good overview of her ability in adapting quickly and seamlessly into comedic roles. Although obviously designed for a more cabaret style venue and crowd, this show slowly but shortly started to win over the majority of the audience at the Gasworks Theatre which is no small feat, and is simply down to Shirley’s ability to keep you interested and on tenterhooks. In the end I actually came away with a smile on my face and with real respect for Shirley Billing. She is certainly a performer of great talent and has a multitude of crazy, yet interesting ideas which she isn’t afraid to share with her audience. I am therefore now eager to see what she has planned in the future, one thing is for sure it won’t be a conventional evening’s entertainment, which is a good thing! Shirley Billing - Mr & Mrs Crapp: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Venue: Gasworks Theatre Dates: 17 April to 18 April 2009 Friday to Saturday at 8.15pm Tickets: $18/$15, Groups 10+ $15 Bookings: t: 8606 4200

Trevor Gager

Monday 20 April, 2009

About the author

Trevor Gager is Company Memberships Manager for ArtsHub.
When he’s not in the office you will find him listening to Bowie, Classical Music, and breaking up fights between his two Cats (Pablo & Andy).