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Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie Peard

Listings and reviews (11)

Alex Hines: To Schapelle And Back

Alex Hines: To Schapelle And Back

4 out of 5 stars

To Shapelle and Back is a kaleidoscope lens reconstruction of the Australian obsession with a young woman who spent nearly 10 years in prison in Bali. Alex Hines won a pile of awards at the 2021 Melbourne Fringe for her magnificently frenetic online show Juniper Wilde: Wilde Night In. Her work is a surreal, astute and dark exploration of being in the generation who grew up in a world where being online and wearing glitter became everything. This story beings in 2005, the year after Shapelle Corby was arrested with 4.2 kg of cannabis in her boogie board bag. Hines wasn’t having a good time in high school when she saw a woman on TV who looked almost like her twin. This woman was also suffering and in the media a lot. In 2005, social media and smartphones were the future and we sucked up lies, gossip and speculation from tabloids, magazines and night-time current affair shows. There were so many stories about Corby, and along with the abundance of theories, investigations, interviews and sneaky photos, there were jokes. So many jokes about her upbringing, intelligence, looks, family, past, name and gender. The laughs were easy and even came from those who supported her. Hines has distilled the media and her personal obsession into a story about her and Shapelle being cursed double spirits who must never meet. It helps to know Corby’s story, but if, like me, you didn’t know she was recently on reality TV shows Dancing With The Stars and SAS Australia, Hines gives enough backgroun

Lou Wall: Bleep Bloop

Lou Wall: Bleep Bloop

4 out of 5 stars

Lou Wall’s had enough of making shows about depression and mental health. So, after setting the standard for online brilliance during lockdown, they are back on stage with a live pop album. An album about being gay, not being sad and embracing the pleasure of being a minor menace. Bleep Bloops are the oops, how-did-that-escalate and so-embarrassing-that-it-belongs-in-a-pop-song moments in life. While not as personal as their extraordinary 2021 That One Time I Joined the Illuminati, this new show draws on similar themes and re-visits past highlights like a new verbatim singing of a social media conversation. In a lime green shortie tracksuit with cobalt blue stripes, Lou is ready to rave and be comfortable. And despite their own bleep bloops, this is a show about being comfortable even when things are awkward. There’s a song about anti-depressants – that should be played to anyone who doesn’t understand that mental health conditions can be treated – one about their love for short kings, and an anthem that might become a theme song for many festivals: “Gays are always late”. With the kind energy and enthusiasm that’s as contagious as that damn thing that is still causing shows to cancel, Lou treats their audience like a best friend who they haven’t seen in ages. And we’re so happy to see them that singing along is easy, even when songs have layers of meaning and revelation that sneak up and remind us that being comfortable and happy isn’t as easy as it sounds in a pop song. If

The Travelling Sisters: Thy Thus 'Twas

The Travelling Sisters: Thy Thus 'Twas

3 out of 5 stars

Darryl, Vinnie and Berrick have enviable mullets. The best friends are part lost-boy bogans and part wanna-be drama nerds whose passion for making Darryl’s Shakespearean masterpiece, called Thy – Thus – ‘Twas, nearly compensates for their mother-son issues and lack of talent. They are also the stars of the Travelling Sisters’s 2020 lockdown web series 'Meet the Mullets'. If you haven’t seen the series – I hadn’t – it takes a while to understand that it isn’t a sketch show but an ongoing story. Not that it makes it any less engaging, but Mullets fans in the audience were straight into the story while newcomers took some time to understand the world.  The Travelling Sisters are Lucy Fox, Ell Sachs and Laura Trenerry. They met at uni in Queensland, studied the Gaulier clown school in France and toured the UK and Europe before setting in Melbourne. Directed by Kimberly Twiner, their combination of exaggerated controlled physicality and deeply developed characters is as much a discussion of gender as it is an absurd story about misfits who have found their tribe of three. The trio work together like they should never be apart, and their wonderfully unique characters are so authentic that they transcend their own parodies. The sisters also play the boys' mothers, whose behaviours and attitudes ask and answer many questions about their respective children.  The Travelling Sisters continue to develop clowning that never settles for an easy gag and builds characters who are easy to la

Oliver Coleman: Sublime

Oliver Coleman: Sublime

4 out of 5 stars

What if Oliver Coleman were just another pale male stand-up comic? As if that would ever happen! He’s known for winning hearts and confusing souls with bad cardboard props, nonsensical plots and surreally stupid sketches. Until now. Sublime is Coleman in jeans and a nice dark-green button-up shirt in front of a black curtain with only a microphone. Really. No, of course, it’s not. I mean it is, but this stand-up is a deconstruction of stand-up that includes so many clichés of stand-up that it’s almost perfect stand-up. Except it isn’t.While many artists satirise being in an industry that’s still perceived as blokes in front of a microphone telling jokes about tits, few do it this well. Coleman understands how stand-up and stand-up characters work and why it can be so infuriating for performers to be compared to blokes standing in front of microphones. And he trusts that his audience will get it and go with his jokes about sport and not yell out that they are bored … unless they are bored. Sure, he’d rather sit around and have a chat and share his tray of Arnott’s biscuits, but he knows that audiences want relatable jokes, some forced intimacy and to film him taking down a heckler. Sublime takes so many unexpected turns that it’s hard to know what’s real, set up or joke. It could have gone so wrong, but Coleman is so in control that it hints of genius … before stumbling back to a joke about Eddie McGuire. And there’s a person in a shark suit sitting in the back row. But don’t

Oliver Coleman: Sublime

Oliver Coleman: Sublime

4 out of 5 stars

What if Oliver Coleman were just another pale male stand-up comic? As if that would ever happen! He’s known for winning hearts and confusing souls with bad cardboard props, nonsensical plots and surreally stupid sketches. Until now. Sublime is Coleman in jeans and a nice dark-green button-up shirt in front of a black curtain with only a microphone. Really. No, of course, it’s not. I mean it is, but this stand-up is a deconstruction of stand-up that includes so many clichés of stand-up that it’s almost perfect stand-up. Except it isn’t.While many artists satirise being in an industry that’s still perceived as blokes in front of a microphone telling jokes about tits, few do it this well. Coleman understands how stand-up and stand-up characters work and why it can be so infuriating for performers to be compared to blokes standing in front of microphones. And he trusts that his audience will get it and go with his jokes about sport and not yell out that they are bored … unless they are bored. Sure, he’d rather sit around and have a chat and share his tray of Arnott’s biscuits, but he knows that audiences want relatable jokes, some forced intimacy and to film him taking down a heckler. Sublime takes so many unexpected turns that it’s hard to know what’s real, set up or joke. It could have gone so wrong, but Coleman is so in control that it hints of genius … before stumbling back to a joke about Eddie McGuire. And there’s a person in a shark suit sitting in the back row. But don’t

Annie and Lena: Different Now

Annie and Lena: Different Now

Annie and Lena are moving house because they are Different Now and want a change – and they need to use all those food delivery service boxes that piled up during lockdown. As they make food delivery service jokes feel far fresher than the delivered food, Lena Moon and Annie Lumsden continue to develop their version of sketch comedy. This is their third live show, and they keep proving that the synergy of a partnership creates layers of complexity that can’t be achieved with a generic recipe. Wearing short black rompers, Annie is a bit self-involved, Lena is dealing with her ADHD need to be constantly stimulated, and both know that they are different after the last couple of years. We all are, aren’t we? More mature, reflective, and accepting of aging and things we can’t change? Yeah. Sure! Lena is at least blonde now, and Annie might even admit that she’s 32 but being locked down for a couple of years hasn’t changed much. Women in their 30s still can’t make decisions, blokes still fake incompetence to hide laziness, and no matter what you do someone will always hate you – a song that should become a performer warm-up when critics are in the audience. Seamlessly switching from sketch to stage characters, Different Now is far more than jokes about being in your 30s. It’s about being friends and balancing honesty and support, understanding that you don’t grow up when you become an adult, and asking your audience if your embarrassing life experiences are funny or depressing. Ann

Diana Nguyen: Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore

Diana Nguyen: Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore

3 out of 5 stars

From the opening of Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore, Diana Nguyen feels like a close friend. By the end, she’s bonded with everyone over the universal themes of fancying Keanu and disappointing your mum, shared how hot (and hot) she is in her peach velvet jumpsuit, and convinced us that LinkedIn is the best dating app. Nguyen begins with dancing, joy and infectious cheeriness. She is frustrated that the Comedy Festival still doesn’t represent the diversity of Melbourne and that she’s only cast as Asian hospitality workers on TV, but nothing can’t distract from discussing the impact of the Melbourne lockdowns. This is an encore show – canceled in 2020, brief return in 2021 – but it’s not the one she originally created; being alone for months revealed that crushing on the spunkiness and generosity of a movie star isn’t all there is to making a show. Not that anyone in the audience doesn’t respect a healthy obsession with Keanu; there are Keanu references for those who have Keanu-fested. And Nguyen moved on to watching porn, Dr Pimple Popper and The Crown. As her mum, who escaped Vietnam on a boat and came to Australia, named Diana and her sisters after British princesses, at least one of those was necessary viewing. Her open, warm and generous performance ensures that the friendship strengthens. Once you’ve told someone about your favourite vibrator and worst date, you are bonded. And beginning to understand the impact of trauma on a family creates the kind of empathy and under

Laura Davis: If This is It

Laura Davis: If This is It

4 out of 5 stars

Laura Davis left Melbourne in 2019 to live in London, but If This Is it isn’t her story about the decimation of our industry, getting stuck in New Zealand – in the woods – and watching her landlord pack up her flat on Zoom. It’s not even about being potentially cancelled if stupid people decided that the sight of her breast was offensive and corrupting. Or about an artist who continues to explore her own voice and develop new work that surprises in its originality and hurts in its complexity.Wearing black jeans, a T-shirt and a jacket, Davis appears to understate every thought as she explains why we don’t get to see her show about animals and the unexplainable beauty of coral. It might have something to do with stupid people, but blaming them would be as easy as laughing at the stupidity of an electric pepper grinder. She sounds awkward and rambling but, every – EVERY – word is vigorously crafted to tell a story that’s as much a deeply personal reflection on a 14-year career as a gut-felt unravelling about women still struggling to be listened to on stages, and in life. It hurts to laugh when you don’t know if you should laugh because the joke comes from frustration, anger and despair. But this is laughter that takes power away from the darkness, people and constructs that feed despair. So, if this IS it, laugh when it hurts, laugh when it’s awkward and laugh when you wonder if you should give up. Laura Davis is IT and more.

Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back

Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back

5 out of 5 stars

Reuben Kaye opens The Butch is Back wearing a sparkling-pink jacket and waistcoat with a nearly-too-wide pannier hoop-skirt that reveals perfectly high-cut black pants and cummerbund. As he sings ‘Pynk’, Janelle Monae’s 2018 feminine and feminist anthem about the pinks that unite humanity, the comfort, or fear, of the queer space is defined. But what follows becomes a blistering and empowering exploration of gender and masculinity. Kaye left Melbourne for the UK about a decade ago. Those of us who saw him in the late 2000s knew that he was destined for far more than cramped stages. He was magnificent. And that magnificence has expanded so much that containment is no longer possible and everyone who sees him may never get the glitter out of their hearts.  With his live band, swishing microphone horse tails (what could they mean!?) and a presence that demands undivided attention, Kaye would be sold out and gushed over if all he did were sing with a voice you feel in your guts and tell outrageously blue jokes. But cabaret was never meant to be safe, conforming or easy. His early list of why the world is broken – it’s too long to begin to quote – should become the policy list of most governments. But his anger and frustration at the seemingly obvious leads into reflections on the ongoing trauma of being labelled something negative before you even know what it means. Returning to the Cure’s 1979 ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, he tells his story of growing up white and privileged in Melbourne a

Typhoon

Typhoon

4 out of 5 stars

Highett is known as a sleepy suburb near the beach – there isn’t even a pub here. But as the inner city keeps sprawling, the milk bars and discount stores of this bayside spot have been replaced with restaurants and cafés worth the half-hour train trip.  Look for Typhoon’s fairy lights and busy street-side tables. Inside, the original Art Deco shop has had a Hanoi chic makeover with bar seats around the open kitchen, bamboo walls and contemporary South East Asian art. The restaurant serves North Vietnamese street food that starts with family recipes and offers vegetarians and vegans so much more than a token vegetable stir fry. As tradition dictates, start with cold rice paper rolls (tofu and vermicelli) or deep-fried spring rolls  (chewy mushrooms and vegetable) that both come with fish-sauce-free nuoc cham dipping sauce – but don’t miss the eggplant chips. Twice fried in a cornflour batter, they come with a generous serve of spicy lime aioli (there’s also a vegan option) and their super-crunchy outside and silky inside has us (nearly) ready to abandon the potato version. But really it’s all about the huge bowls of pho here. Head chef Thai Nguyen is from Hanoi and makes his secret family-recipe broths fresh every day for the pho bo (beef), pho ga (chicken) and pho rau (vegetarian) and we are here to tell you that his meat-free soup is an absolute winner. If you’ve been continually disappointed by the broken promises of stock-cube faux phos, prepare to be happy. The vegetable

Trippy Taco Southside

Trippy Taco Southside

3 out of 5 stars

Simon Fisher learned to make tortillas in Mexico and when he came home he decided to take the Trippy Taco party to music festivals. It was so popular he opened a permanent shop in Collingwood, which then moved to Fitzroy because the queues were too long. And now there’s a second restaurant in St Kilda. And just in case you’re worried you might miss it, look for the bright orange “tacos” sign that points to Trippy Taco Southside at the beach end of Acland Street.  Don’t feel bad if you can’t snag an outside table because inside is filled with natural light and bright piñatas, tikis and prints (including a purple and avocado-green print by pop-surrealist Shag). It’s like hanging out in a groovy 1960s beach house. Your hosts for the evening are welcoming and the food, which is all vegetarian and can be taken away, is made in an open kitchen where you can watch them rolling out the tacos and squeezing the limes – good things take time. The best way to approach your meal here is to order based on texture and hunger levels because the fillings are pretty similar across the board – black beans or spicy chargrilled tofu with salsa, salad, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. If you’re hungry, the soft tortilla burrito is  as wide as your wrist. For crunch, order the nachos with house-made corn chips layered with mozzarella cheese, smoky sauce, tangy salsa, beans, super-fresh guacamole and enough sour cream to count as a daily calcium shot. You should also add jalapeños. Got dietary requ