All posts by Tony Laumberg

Tony Laumberg has been involved in entertainment since he was a child, having been persuaded by his mother to perform as a singer in talent contests while on holidays and managing only to win a wooden ruler showing the sights of the Blue Mountains! From there, he progressed to sharing his humorous insights on ABC TV and Radio while still a teenager and followed that with appearances on Willesee at Seven as a comedy reporter while trying to hold down a job as a CBD solicitor. It wasn’t long before Tony found his way onto the stages of the Comedy Store and other “interesting” venues as a stand-up comedian which he engaged in for 8 years and over 500 performances along with comedy legends such as Rodney Rude, Vince Sorrenti, Austen Tayshus and George Smilovici. After a stint as a writer of numerous optioned screenplays and a recipient of many government writing grants, he has ended up since 2002 writing and producing 12 plays, mostly comedies, including Unsolicited Male, Lawyer! Lawyer!, 2 Weddings & A Lawyer and his latest, Murder Most Funny!

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

A Company shot of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. Pic Jeff Busby

If you’re like me then the only things you remember about the movie version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are that it starred Dick Van Dyke, it was about a phantasmagorical car that flies and it featured a really catchy song called oddly enough “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

And incredibly, the original story was written by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame and was inspired by a number of real racing cars all named, wait for it, “Chitty Bang Bang” One Chitty went missing!

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SIDEKICKS

Dan Ilic and Emily Rose Brennan joust in Stephen Vagg’s SIDEKICKS

You can’t quite prepare yourself for your first visit to the Old 505 Theatre. It’s an adventure up a lift to level 5 and then through a labyrinth of what can best be described as 20th century Bronx architecture.

However, on arrival you are greeted by a small, intimate space where you just know raw talent is bursting to entertain you. Tonight’s fare is the Stephen Vagg penned SIDEKICKS billed as a romantic comedy about a couple told from their best friends’ point of view.

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JUSTIN AND JORDAN at the Sydney Fringe 2012

Jordan Shanks and Justin Locke at the Sydney Fringe 2012

Following in the footsteps of such great comedy duos as Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello (not the Lib pollies), Martin and Lewis, Morecambe and Wise and Pete Cook and Dudley Moore are Australia’s own Justin and Jordan.

Having been together for less than a year Justin Locke and Jordan Shanks started off performing at University Open Mic nights and have now spring boarded themselves into the comedy circuit under the mentorship of Colin Lane formerly of Lano and Woodley.

I caught up with them at the Sydney Fringe Festival and soon noticed that they have a unique style which combines a physical effervescence with a surreal and somewhat twisted sense of humour.

Presenting a show, which can best be described as a series of sketches linked by a monologue, Justin takes on the bewildered straight man role to Jordan’s multi-character madness.

The show opens with private school student, Steve (played by Justin), being interrogated by a virgin cop (played by Jordan) over a crime he didn’t commit. This is followed by Justin being confronted by his unsympathetic mother (Jordan in drag) for breaking the 9 pm curfew. It was then that I realised that Justin is the spitting image of golfing superstar, Rory McIlroy.

After being informed by his mother that she has rented out his room for being 12 minutes late, Steve then catches the space bus to the moon and undergoes a moon citizenship test. The first question is to describe how a nuclear reactor works in exactly 25 words. Unfortunately Steve fails the test because his eyebrows look like burritos instead of enchiladas.

What occurs next is a slip slop slap dance for those concerned with skin cancer followed by poor Steve being arrested by the virgin cop for public nudity simply because he removed his shirt. We go on to meet a lawyer/ rap artist, Hot Doggs, and a German process server both played by Jordan who seems to become more outrageous and hilarious as the show progresses.

I won’t spoil the ending but needless to say Steve can’t survive too many more days like this. I look forward to seeing Justin and Jordan in a year’s time to see if Justin has learnt to play golf and whether he and Jordan can continue to score well when it comes to absurdist comedy.

Justin & Jordan in “Steve: 2 Sugars thanks, I’ve had a bad day” played The Fuse Box at the Factory Theatre as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival on Saturday 29 September 2012

Tony Laumberg

1 October, 2012

Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- JUSTIN AND JORDAN, Jordan Shanks, Justin Locke, Colin Lane, Sydney Fringe Festival, The Fuse Box Factory Theatre, Sydney Arts Guide, Tony Laumberg.

CAM KNIGHT AT THE COMEDY STORE

Cam Knight, a big hit, at the iconic Comedy Store

Cam Knight is a man of definite views. Considering he is also a stand-up comedian, that serves him very well.

The scene for his latest ‘one-night laugh fest’ was the iconic Comedy Store at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. This venue, in its first incarnation at Jamieson Street in the City, was the home of such legends as Rodney Rude, Vince Sorrenti, Austen Tayshus and George Smilovici in the 1980’s.

But enough with the ancient history, Cam Knight is one of the current generation of young comedians having spent 5 years as the host of STAND UP AUSTRALIA on the Comedy Channel.

A big crowd of what looked like about 400 people ( I apologise if that’s over the safety limit for the venue and it gets in trouble with the authorities!) gathered to be greeted by Cam, with a glint in his eye, suggesting that all that was to come was tongue in cheek even if he suggested to the contrary.

After a polite request for members of the audience who had seen anything he’d done before, to act as if they hadn’t (if only stand-up comedy was that easy), Cam entered into his first topic of the night, what else but the alternate universe of Woy Woy where some druggie fisted him (a la Barack and Michelle Obama) and poor Cam could only respond by shaking his fist. It may not seem like a howler but it is enjoyable fare when a skilled performer like Cam can turn it into a whole routine.

Cam’s topics during the night included women wearing too much perfume (or as he calls them – stinky bitches), women wearing Chinese tattoos (which to him of course means “Do Not Enter”) and women wearing inappropriate clothing at BIG DAY OUT(is such a thing possible?). Do you see a theme here?

But Cam soon moves on to other topics like his beloved Adelaide where he grew up. He loves going back there for the main reason that he can leave. His slow motion version of an enraged 93 year-old Adelaide bowler certainly highlighted his comedic acting talents.

During the evening we found out that Cam proposed to his fiancée on Tamarama beach next to a giant fat man wearing a gas mask. Did I mention that it was during SCULPTURES BY THE SEA? And, naturally, Cam couldn’t help asking his fiancée, “Do you want to see my sculpture?” Always the comedian!

Yes, Cam has strong views (he regards horse racing as whipping with midgets) but his verve, confidence and charm ensured a night laden with belly laughs.

Cam Knight performed for one night at the Sydney Comedy Store, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park on Saturday 7th July.

Tony Laumberg

9th July, 2012

Sydney Stand-Up Comedy Reviews- Cam Knight, The Comedy Store, Sydney Arts Guide, Tony Laumberg.

TOMMY DEAN AT THE FACTORY THEATRE

Tommy Dean at the Factory Theatre

Tommy Dean, The Factory Theatre, Fri, 4 May 2012

The media release promised that I would have a night of “gut-bustingly painful fun” if I dared to come to Tommy Dean’s show at the Factory Theatre. As this sounded mildly dangerous, I looked forward to moving outside my comfort zone of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and venturing out into the far more risky inner West!

As I join the large crowd which has gathered, some 500 in number, I face an unexpected dilemma. A young lovey dovey couple seated in front of me decide to put their heads together in some kind of divine joining of the souls. Good luck to them but they completely block my view of the stage. Do I need to actually see Tommy Dean perform and disturb the couple or should I just listen to the comedian as if it were a blind audition on the Voice?

I make the only decision a reviewer who still believes in the power of love could; I shift my head to the right and block the view of the person behind me! It almost feels like I’m in my own comedy routine but who cares?

And then Tommy Dean comes out to generous applause. Aha, most of the audience knows him already. But what will I think? That’s what’s really important. And then he speaks. Wow! A comic with a deep, booming voice. That’s different. Not one of those whiny ones. He commands respect…even if he is an American!

Tommy “boasts” about his outfit which he’s wearing in honour of Fashion Week. Laughter. “Wrinkles are in” he claims. Self-effacing. He talks about his interviews that day on 2SER and 2GB (at 4.30 am) and gets confirmation from the audience that
no-one heard them. Great, he can laugh at himself.

As Tommy’s show continues, you can’t help liking the guy. His observations on the madness of life sound like humorous judgments from the Big Guy up above. Make no mistake, his wit is sometimes laced with an anger borne one suspects from frustration with dealing with the kind of idiots we all come across every day.

His social commentary covers a wide breadth of personal experiences ranging from IVF to trying to tell the difference between his two twins (I know you can’t have any other number) to the joys of double ovens to the evil empire of Ikea and all its products. All the time the audience is lapping it up with howls of delight.

And once Tommy, who now lives here, takes aim at his gun-toting father and religiously inspired mother who still live back in the States, you know he’s really one of us and you’re grateful.

I’m not sure if my gut was busted with any sense of pain but Tommy is welcome in my country for many years to come just so we can all hear that outstanding voice and the weird and wacky things that come out of his mouth. His parents, I’m not so sure about!

© Tony Laumberg

6th May, 2012

Tags: Sydney Theatre Reviews, Tommy Dean, Factory Theatre, Sydney Arts Guide, Tony Laumberg

THE IMPRO LATE SHOW

Impro comedy at its best at the Enmore

Just like Forrest Gump’s legendary box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get with improv comedy. But in the hands of host, Rebecca De Unamuno, and her eager helpers, at least you know you will be in for a good time.

The Yalumba Wine Bar at the Enmore Theatre provides a tight but intimate atmosphere where one is surrounded by old posters of such musical luminaries as Kiss, the Whitlams and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and dozens of other acts who had previously performed at the Enmore Theatre. However, on this night comedy rules!

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