Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Shaun Micallef and Steven Curry in Good Evening, Melbourne Comedy Theatre

I’m a reasonably honest chap, so in the interests of disclosure I feel compelled to admit something upfront that might otherwise lead to accusations of impartiality re this, my tuppence-worth of thoughts about Good Evening. Without further delay, here it is: I, dear people, am addicted to Cooper Black font. Shocking form I know, but I’d rather you knew.

I find it cute and clever and slightly cuddly and sexy and a bit 1920s and a lot 1960s. Cooper Black makes the most mundane words seem fun and cool and stylish all at the same time. If I had my way I would introduce rules to bring about its greater use, especially in government documents, religious texts and telegrams from the army about missing loved ones. It is no over-exaggeration to say I love Cooper Black.

In this context it is possible that you might disbelieve anything I have to say about
Good Evening - Shaun Micallef and Steven Curry’s tribute to the sketches of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. It is after all a show which is not shy in its use of Cooper Black to promote its joys on flyers, posters, buses and websites and I am obviously susceptible. Still hear me out, because there are some things you need to know.

Firstly Shaun Micallef is ace. I’ve said this before and having finally seen him live I only feel this more keenly. If you don’t like him you probably don’t deserve to (and probably aren’t reading this anyway). There are few people who can make me laugh just by walking into a room. Micallef he do dat (something that no amount of series of Talkin’ Bout My Generation will change).

Secondly Steven Curry is wonderful in this show. A gifted character actor, he captures Dudley Moore’s slightly subservient relationship with Cook without resorting to pastiche or crass impressions. Good Evening nicely updates this imbalance with digs at Micallef’s ego and Curry’s (relative) obscurity, some of which raise bigger laughs than the sketches themselves.

Thirdly, not knowing many Cook/Moore sketches was actually a blessing. I only knew two and of those I thought one didn’t quite match to expectation. Like with the American version of The Office it was far more rewarding to forget all about the originals and just enjoy what was going on.

Fourthly the set was beautiful. I liked the feel of the Comedy Theatre (though we were very near the front) and the stage - a cross between an MGM musical set and a Morecambe and Wise show, with giant art deco letters spelling out the word GOOD - was perfectly suited to the content of show.

Finally, there is no denying that the production was a class above many of the shows at this year’s festival. This is not to suggest that it was funnier or that I’d want all shows to be like this, but given the $40 plus price of the tickets you definitely get your money’s worth. You do have to share the room with lots of older snobbier folks though who clearly won’t be going to any other shows this month.

Anyway, in summary Good Evening = a good evening, and that’s not just me putting on a brave font.

Important Choc Top Update: following my dissing of the choc tops at the Astor in Saint Kilda it’s worth noting that the choc tops at the Comedy Theatre were high class. Crunchy waffle cones, creamy vanilla and a thick layer of chocolate made for happy little Custards. Bravo Comedy Theatre (though $4 for a 250ml bottle of water is fucking preposterous…)


Rani said...

I agree with you about the American Office, which I've just discovered and is really brilliant, and I also agree with the principle of not being familiar with the original material in order to enjoy the current interpretation more. However, if you ever come across some of the original series Not Only But Also you are well advised to fill your boots. It was all done with such a light touch, it has barely aged at all. (Having said that you are not likely to come across it very easily)

Please watch this. Please.

It's so lovely. I don't know if they did this one but it's probably my favourite.

all the best

Mint Custard said...

'She's upstairs coping with Uncle Berty' - great stuff. No they didn't do that, though they did finish with the song... perhaps they'll do a dvd of Good Evening? I think there are a couple of clips on the MICF website...