Melbourne Fringe Festival Recommendations That Saved My Sanity

If you want an indication of how screwed up I managed to get over this past weekend, check out my 100th YouTube video that I posted to this blog over the weekend.  In most of the videos I make, the mood is either exaggerated or outright faked.  Not this one.  That’s exactly how goddam angry I was at that point.  Fortunately, my sanity was saved by seeing some of the shows in the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

These were the shows I have mentioned previously that I saw in rehearsal a couple of weeks ago.  “Mule” has finished its run but the comedy shows are running through until this Sunday (October 14th).  A good laugh was exactly what I needed to get me out of the shitty mood I had descended into because of video editing issues.  Lucky for me, these shows provided plenty of laughs.  So as a public service announcement, Mr Angry gives you the inside dope: if you’re lucky enough to be in Melbourne over the next week and need cheering up, check out these shows.  Also, if you’re already in a good mood but like a laugh, these shows are a must-see.

Dave Bushell’s “I Can’t Help Myself” (details and bookings here) has gone up a level in energy since I saw it in rehearsal.  How a 20 years old Australian manages to play an American twice his age so convincingly I don’t know, but he does it.  There’s even the added authenticity of the pre-show warmup guy to get the audience in the mood.  Dr Alex McFarlane wrote the only self-help book you’ll ever have to read.  And fortunately for all of us, he wrote several sequels as well.

Tommy Dassalo’s “The Universe is Parmigiana” (details and bookings here) present a grand unifying theory just in time.  I hear string theory is almost discredited so maybe those scientists should be eating more parma.  At one point in the show Tommy mentioned being nervous because, at 20, this was his first full length solo show.  Yeah, all he’s done up to this point is come runner up in a national standup competition and put on an award-winning two person show (“I Heart Racism” with Dave Bushnell).  What’s taken you so long to get it together you under-achieving bastard?

Dave Thornton’s “What… Me Worry?” (details and bookings here) is proof Mad magazine isn’t as litigious as Dave once thought.  Dave’s laid-back style is completely engaging and very Oz (Australian audiences – think Carl Barron but 15 years younger).  His life’s journey as related onstage includes his letter from the Queen and his email from the Dalai Llama and, if you’re really lucky, he’ll show you the mark left on his butt from when he ran with the bulls in Pamplona.

I think therapists call this a “coping strategy”.  I managed to deal with some major setbacks that were really pissing me off by, dare I say it, actually getting a life and going out.  There was a point on Saturday night when I was most definitely feeling like a complete failure.  Thanks to the diversion provided by these shows along with the voice of sanity in my life, I came through OK.  This voice, by the way, is not one of the voices in my head that I’ve referred to multiple times in the past.  None of those voices are sane.


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