Renaissance Bloke - Peter J. Casey. Co-written and directed by Carissa Campbell. The Street Theatre Studio, September 23 – 25, 2004, 7.30 pm. Bookings 6247 1223.
You only have till Saturday. Don't miss Renaissance Bloke.
It's just so good to see a show full of wit, laughs and talent. Peter J. Casey satirises himself, appearing to put himself down as a "bloke", as a "man about the house", even as a performer at his four wierdest gigs, but don't you believe a word of it. His piano, his voice, his body so easily leap to his command. And we, his audience, respond to every nuance of tone, every lift of an eyebrow.
This is stand-up comedy sitting at a piano for nearly two hours, and you won't think about time passing. It's smooth, but knowingly smooth. Disarmingly simple but very clever. Three nights surely are not enough, but I guess, as Casey said, you have to remember that to earn a dollar in the arts you have to spend $1.50.
The show is not all original work by Campbell and Casey. Watch for the Tom Lehrer imports, and if you clap long enough - as everyone did on opening night - you'll get to hear the penis medley for a last laugh.
Casey can do every kind of nightclub / cabaret / musical song, but he offers us so much more than an interesting performance of the expected. He is an acute observer of himself as he performs. It may sound pedantic to say his work is metacognitive, at a level of awareness beyond the immediate. What's fascinating is that this deepens the satire, enlivens the laughter, and makes the evening totally satisfying.
Musically he can take any source - try Jaws, Close Encounter of the Third Kind and Star Wars - and find an original style in the music alone which plays with our expectations. Then the words sparkle with even more humour, acting against the musical setting. Personally, I thought Star Wars as a three-minute musical was perhaps the most brilliant, but every number was exciting and absorbing. Somehow it reminded me of the best of Circus Oz, but all the gymnastics happen in your head. Unforgettable.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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