Funnymen

(by Ted Heller) (2012) “Dying is easy: comedy is hard.”* As is tragicomedy, which Funnymen achieves magnificently. Presented in the literary version of cinéma vérité, the book recounts (to a diligent interviewer called ‘Ted’ via sound-bites from a cast of over a hundred characters) the life and career trajectory of Sigmund Blissman (aka Ziggy Bliss) and Vittorio Fontana (aka Vic Fountain), who hook up in the Catskills and take their haywire mugging, kvetching, crooning act on the club circuit in the ’40s, forming a team that puts them on the top, from the Copa to Vegas to Hollywood and all…

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An Old-Fashioned Spray

July 4, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Glenelg v Adelaide, Glenelg Oval, 3 July 2021 The Tigers were at a disadvantage, working out what a damp and chilly day would bring: an early start, an opposition (and supporters) that sometimes don’t turn up at all (metaphorically and literally, respectively). Only this time the Crows had turned up, ready to play. With an impressive list of 17 AFL stars, they matched Glenelg, and more, for the first 3 quarters, leading at every change. At three-quarter time, Adelaide led by 8 points with the breeze more from the west than the south. It was time for an old-fashioned spray,…

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RocKwiz Salutes Eurovison (2021)

June 29, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 25 June 2021 We thought nothing could stop the Eurovision Song Contest.  The plastic glitter tv extravaganza that has been jauntily assaulting our eyeballs, ears and self-respect since 1956 is proof against international conflict, political controversy and stage-bombers.  But a little virus from a non-competing country cancelled the contest in 2020 and Eurovision tragics had to content themselves with The Story of Fire Saga . The SBS music quiz tv show RocKwiz is keeping the legend alive in 2021 for those Australians who cannot travel. From the Gershwin Room in St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel in Melbourne to…

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ERN – Australia’s Greatest Hoax

June 28, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Festival Theatre, Adelaide, 25 June 2021 First, the back story.  The Ern Malley affair is Australia’s most famous literary hoax. Max Harris was a precocious Adelaide poet who edited Angry Penguins, a literary review in the style of the Wyndham Lewis-inspired Blast from several decades before. A couple of traditional poets, Harold Stewart and James McAuley, on a slow day in 1943 at the Melbourne barracks where they were stationed, fabricated a brief folio of poems by an obscure artist, Ern Malley, who had died tragically at the age of 25. Imitating the modernist poetry they despised, the hoaxers wrote…

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Cabaret

June 25, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Bob Fosse) (1972) Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 24 June 2021 Inspired by the Weimar work of Christopher Isherwood, Cabaret is perhaps the last great movie musical. A brilliant rendering of the last days of chaotic democracy in Germany, the long shadows of Nazism entering stage left, the Kit Kat Klub becomes a trope for the death of heady, insouciant decadence, about to be replaced by something far more depraved. Fosse’s direction is faultless, as are the period feel and production values. The cast is superb, led by Liza Minnelli, perfect as the brash and wide-eyed Sally Bowles, an American…

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