Time for a quick update on my movements. As I write this, I’m on a train returning from the Blue Mountains to Sydney, where I’ll be spending Saturday night. I’m then on the Gold Coast for the Kickstart Forum from Sunday 27 February to Tuesday 2 March, then back in Sydney for a few days to attend, amongst other things, Digital Directions 2011 [nee Media 2011] on Thursday 3 March. It’s then Mardi Gras weekend in Sydney, so I’ll probably escape back to the Blue Mountains. More details soon, or via my Twitter stream.
I’ve just discovered that ’Pong and I are going to the showing of Mardi Gras: The Slide Show tonight. Presumably like last year it’ll also be an awards night. Maybe like last year one of his photos will win an award. I guess he hopes there won’t be a repeat of The Rowdy Boys Incident. It’s at Midnight Shift nightclub on Oxford Street from 8pm — ho hum, Oxford Street on a Saturday night. I guess it can’t be avoided. And which twit scheduled a slide show during Earth Hour?
Tomorrow afternoon I’ll find myself at an event called Putting The Penis Into Envy, On The Couch With Sigmund Freud. “Sigmund Freud is synonymous with sexuality — penis envy, mother love, the Oedipus Complex, therapy for heavens sake! In the Gothic splendour of the Nicholson Museum and an informal champagne cream tea, a panel in the field will discuss gay issues raised by the work of Freud. An exhibition from the Freud Museum in London displays antiquities that surrounded and influenced the man.” Hosted by Marc Pesce, of all people. Wanna join me?
OK, I don’t see much theatre these days. But when I do, I usually stumble across something special. And so it was with The Fabulous Punch & Judy Show.
In many ways this is perfectly a standard Punch & Judy show, apart from using live actors instead of puppets. And apart from three actors playing Punch simultaneously, including Arky Michael. And apart from the gay angle, with Punch’s masculinity under threat from an attractive youth.
And apart from a most disturbing version of a Sherbet song.
Written by Brent Thorpe, who also plays Punch, and directed by Anthony Skuse, this play is a dark, wittily delicious one-act treat. ’Pong’s photos show off the simple but effective staging. I suspect it’ll be swamped by other, higher-profile Mardi Gras fare, but it deserves to pull audiences.
The Fabulous Punch & Judy Show is playing at the Cleveland Street Theatre, 199 Cleveland Street, Redfern, until 29 February.
[Disclosure: My old friend Garry Finch is stage manager and he gave us tickets, but I wrote this of my own accord.]
’Pong and I are standing on the balcony at Sydney nightclub Arq, looking down at the continuing awards ceremony. Nearby someone asks whether the women currently on stage are “the lesbian singers” he’s seen before.
“What’s a lesbian singer?” I ponder aloud in a stage whisper. “Is that like a horse whisperer?”
’Pong glares, unimpressed. His energy levels are low, he’s not in the mood. My friend Nate, not exactly what you’d call the shy retiring type, has encouraged my heckling of the drag queens hosting the event, and ’Pong and Nate’s boyfriend Chris have both been uncomfortable.
Then another loud stage whisper emerges from a leather-clad bear standing on the other side. “No,” he says, “That would be a fish whisperer.”
The bear’s boyfriend’s eyes catch ’Pong and Chris, “Oh no, here we go again,” they seem to say. Strangers bond, wishing they could disown their partners.
Later, ’Pong takes me aside to explain that he’s exhausted, that he’s having trouble focussing on what he needs to do tonight. He’s trying to make a good impression on important people, and my rowdy mood isn’t appreciated.
And just as he finishes that speech, Nate bounces up my side, eyes wide with child-like excitement, proudly brandishing a bunch of green tickets. “Look! More free drink vouchers!”