Tassie Babes in Brisbane

18 04 2010

Whoa. Yep, it really is over 3 months since last post. Time has either flown, or life here in remote WA actually is as quiet as you might imagine. Probably a bit of both. And I have also recently succumbed to the dark side, namely Twitter, so don’t expect a resurgence in blog posts any time soon. Seems to be the way these days, most blogs I frequent seeming to be suffering similar cases of dying-in-the-ass…

But, school holidays have just finished, and as was again my good fortune, the Brisbane Arts Theatre chose the same time as last year to stage the second must-see production set in John Birminghams Felafel universe , The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco. So it was bags packed for the drej household, and off in a jet plane, well, two, we went.

It was a great week overall. After a brief stop for dinner with the in-laws in Perth Friday night, it was the overnighter to BrisVegas, arriving about 0530. Picked up another quality XR6 rental at  the airport, headed for the city where we had the good luck to grab an early check-in at the Sofitel, and promptly slept the morning away, our bodies catching up on the missed hours of sleep suffered on the red-eye. This proved to be a wise move, given the late night ahead…

Hit the shops briefly with the better half and kids in the arvo before heading back to the hotel for a shower and change, after which  my leave-pass came in to effect, and I was on my own. Had chatted briefly with playwright Simon Bedak on Farcebook before the trip, so I knew there were some plans afoot to catch up for a cleansing ale or two beforehand,  but never did nail down the exact venue. Fortunately there were only a couple of pubs on Petrie Tce – tried the Prince Alfred, dead as a dead dingos – so that only left the infamous Normandy.

Didn’t recognise any faces at first, but the beers were cold, and my home team,the mighty Crusaders were ahead on the live screen, so the night was starting out well. And before my first beer had even finished hitting-the-side, a dark haired fellow approached the bar wearing a Felafel t-shirt. “Simon ?” I asked, recognising him straight from previous profile photos, albeit with shorter hair. Funny how having never actually met someone before, you can have an instant cameraderie, stemming from purely internet-based communication, in this case, going back a couple of years or so. But, I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here…

Simon was as I’d come to expect, charming, congenial, a true gentleman with a larrikin touch. Even in spite of the fact he must have been nervous as hell on the opening night of his latest masterpiece! Straight away he took me over to meet the others on his table, including his lovely wife, Woody, and also straight from Burger-land, Beeso (resplendent in the infamous Hey, hey, we’re the drunkees’ Tee) and Beeso’s wife. Others soon joined us, and we all enjoyed catching up over more beers and a light dinner.

The night was winding up to be a good one. Next to arrive, unannounced, was the jugger-author himself, John Birmingham.  Now, I’ve been a fan of  JB’s work for a few years now, ever since I first picked up Weapons of Choice at Adelaide Airport back in Jan 2006. Progressed from there to his back catalogue via his blog, Cheeseburger Gothic, which in turn has lead to numerous online friendships and interactions over the years with a variety of fine folks – chances are, including anyone reading this now!

So you can imagine, it was an absolute pleasure to finally meet the man himself. JB projects sometimes in his blogs like Blunty an image of one of those people who come across as  loud and possiblyunreasonably opinionated- in person, nothing could be further from truth – he was friendly,urbane, couteous and happy to share his time with all of us there, a growing ensemble that now even included the redoubtable Hughesy and her other half, among others.

We all walked down to the Theatre together, a five minute  stroll on a perfect Brisbane autumn eve, to the world premiere of The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco.

The crowd was already growing as we arrived, a palpable sense of expectancy in the air. JB pointed out another burger I hadn’t met, Mayhem, and her son, who it was great to also meet. Nat, the always-Fabulous Girl Clumsy was queen of the night, all in white, looking, well, as Fabulous as ever. I said a quick hello, surprised but happy she even recognised me from our one meeting a year ago at Felafel given how busy she was.

And then, it was curtain time.  Others have already reviewed the play far better than I could ever hope to. For one of the best, check out Hughesys: http://annettehughes.blogspot.com/2010/04/fantasto-fiasco.html

Suffice to say, I loved the play. Although my memories of Felafel were somewhat hazy – no surprise if you read my last-years write up on it – Tassie Babes seemed to retain all the very best elements of its prequel, namely hilarious script, awesome cast and acting, while introducing new and timely elements : plot for one. I seem to be in a minority who enjoyed TBF the novel more than Felafel, and for me, Simons script, although subtlely different to the book (and sometimes not so) bore this out well. There was a return of some of the great characters from the first, including another stand-out performance by Shaun King as “JB”. Sorry, don’t know all the names,(gotta get me a program) but the bloke  playing the decoy again was great, the new characters, especially the “villain” were awesome, and I was rapt to see the return of my favourite Felafel actress Amy Currie as “housemother” Stacey. Even more rapt to actually meet her and others in the cast after the show. Hell, they were all awesome, and they all, and JB, Nat and Simon can only be commended for one wicked performance.

Afterwards, the feeling appeared to be pretty much universal, everyone I spoke to absolutely loved the show. Being opening night, there was supper and drinks aplenty to be had with above all, great company. Finished the evening with Simon, Woody and reviewer David Jackmanson at an African themed bar on nearby Caxton St, before retiring tired but happy around 2am.

Spent the rest of the week with the family down Byron Bay way – we’d never been before, and all had a great time chilling out and enjoying the mild weather. Then it was back to Brissie for 2 nights to catch up with my mate Dodgy, before flying home Saturday just gone and straight back to work. Had an absolute ball, best week of the year by far so far, and look forward to catching up with some of the crew, and others who didn’t make it this time, in the future.

 

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5 responses

19 04 2010
Bangar

Good to hear the trip went well.

19 04 2010
Mayhem

Nice to meet you too Drej, shame I couldn’t stick around a bit longer. Glad you all enjoyed your holiday, and hopefully we’ll catch up again one day, either here in Brissie, or Melbourne, or maybe in your neck of the woods, you never know.

And yes, it was an awesome night, a fabulous play, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

20 04 2010
drej08

Thanks Bangar, Mayhem, yeah it was great, wish I could see it again too 😦
Planning on being in Melbourne in October, so a MB (Melb Burger) catch up could be on the cards…

19 05 2010
Girl Clumsy

Hey Drej!

Thanks so much for coming all the way – you really do hold the record for most amount of ground covered to get to the show. You even beat Havock, but maybe don’t tell him that. 😉

Your kind words about the show mean so much – apologies for not responding earlier. I’m so pleased you liked it!

Until next time (hopefully I can swing a trip to Broome one day!)

Cheers, Nat.

19 05 2010
drej08

Cheers Nat – mean’t every word, you guys were awesome!
Not tell Havoc ? Heck, I’ll be rubbing it in for a long long time…!
You’re always welcome up this neck of the woods, otherwise I guess we’ll be catching up for Dopeland, yeah?

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