Thanks to a fortuitous hole in my Fringe calendar and the provision of cheap RushTIX, I was able to make the acquaintance of Kai and Tim as they performed Mager and Smythe: In Search of Atlantis at the Tuxedo Cat ... and I'm very very glad I did.
Their show takes the form of a series of most excellent songs detailing the adventures of this Melbourne duo as they discover a priceless artifact which will, after many trials and tribulations, lead them to The Lost City of Atlantis. The quality of these songs, both in content and performance, is more than equal to that of much more famous musical comedians such as Tripod, Tom Smith, Sammy J, and Jed and Joss Whedon. If they hadn't already had a CD of the show available I would have definitely encouraged them to have produced one.
I actually suspect that the CD is actually the pure form of the show (although I haven't as yet listened to it), and this reveals the one small problem that I do have with the show, and that is the complete lack of visual props to help tell the story to the audience. From what I gather, the CD takes the form of an old-fashioned radio show, and is actually slightly longer than the performance slot allotted to them. Now in a radio show it is perfectly fine to have the same actors play different characters by using different voices. When you perform this live however, I think it helps to have distinct visual cues to assist the audience, as we are very visually orientated creatures. And by that I mean more than assuming a different posture, expression and position on the stage, although these did help immensely, especially later in the show. I can't help thinking how better the show would have been, if, for example, the actors had of had a set of quick-change cheap party hats on a rack to the side to represent the different characters that they are also portraying (although as Tripod has proven repeatedly rapid hat changes can be problematic on stage). [Plus it means that they each would have had at least one fez, and as everybody knows, fezes are cool.] The addition of an actual physical medallion is such a simple thing, but it would have drawn audience attention immediately, in a way that the mimed medallion does not. It's the old magician's trick of drawing focus, but this time towards the performance rather than away from it. But really this is actually rather minor nit-picking, and their absence doesn't really detract from the performance.
All in all, Mager and Smythe are definitely people to watch in the future, and I do recommend actually going to see their performance, especially if you are fortunate enough to get RushTIX. I'll review the CD in a bit.
Feb. 26th, 2012
There was a stealth show at the Tuxedo Cat of a number of the performers putting together some quick vignettes. Free (although they did ask for a donation for drinkies afterwards if you enjoyed the show). The standard amateur cabaret form. Although the Poet Laureate Telia Neville has gotten me to see her show on the strength of her short fiddy cent word rap.
Oh why do I always end up in lust over English majors....
[Edited] So I'm amending my Fringe for Sunday to also include Live on Air with Poet Laureate Telia Nevile on Monday Feb 26 if there are still RushTIX available.
ETA; Have fasting blood test Monday. Going Sunday instead.
Had a brilliant day at the Fringe today. Admittedly it helped that the temperature had dropped by half (well, not quite), but I also tried two almost totally untested Fringe sows and they were perfect. And between the shows, The Twoks played at the free Bank SA Concert. There was dancing. A very cute young blonde came up and insisted on dancing with me. However I emphasise the "young," as she was about 6. Oh well. A couple of adults were also dancing, but they were either moms with kids or Fringe girls handing out flyers and selling the new Twok CD. The rest of everyone was both two afraid of looking silly and not drunk enough to overcome that fear. Xani threatened me with a dance floor at her show Monday next... [her current line of music is really good to dance to, being less avante-garde than the original The Twoks music.
One of the girls selling me the CD said she was in Chants des Catacombs (along with Xani) and so I'm seeing that tomorrow at 10:30pm. She was surprised that I knew about the show (or at least it's location), but I knew about it before they brought it over here from the Kickstarter they had to fund it's production, so it was shortlisted.
As for the actual shows I saw today, they were perfect. No wasted effort, no wasted energy. Concise. To the point. Well scripted. Well performed. Literally perfect productions. And interesting. More details on those individually.
Cutting through the mall on the way home there was even a busker playing a piano at the radio telescope/pagoda, to a young crowd sitting on the boxes there, under the starlit sky. A perfect cap to the end of the day at the Fringe.