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Review: Club Fringe: Kick On at Fringe Hub: Trades Hall - Old Ballroom

By Jacqueline Luty

A one-piece leotard, higher than the knees boots, neck-cord whistle and “knuckle buster” whistle blown in-between acts, a brunet hair extension “to look sportier” and of course the iconic Betty Grumble bright coloured face make-up, what more could there be? A whole lot more, you don’t want to turn away or you might miss absurd funny footy puns, costume changes/strips and many entertaining acts. Club Fringe: Kick On features Betty Grumble, Lauren Bok, PO PO MO CO,The Travelling Sisters, Anna Go-Go, Dandrogony, Fresh and Fruity, Claudia Jones, Stephen Valeri, Benjamin Hancock, and DJ Juan Vesuvius. A massive appreciation to everyone that made this night possible, including artists, cast, crew, Fringe staff, interpreters, volunteers and the audience (especially the two that put their hands up to participate in the beep test).

Hanging from above is a massive disco ball, at the back are cocktail masters aka the bar staff and everywhere else is a performance with rich lighting all well suited to each. Exciting and well-arranged running order up on stage, in the crowd, on the crowd (with some sassy crowd surfing), on chairs, on a massage table, and all good tunes from DJ Juan Vesuvius. When host Betty Grumble (real name Emma May Gibson) appears on stage, energy instantly fills the room. Grumble brings a great absurd uniqueness to the party and plays with rhythm throughout the night. Your focus is drawn to her amplification of facial expressions, gestures (like pouring water over herself with the clever use of repetition), skilful dancing and delightful ways of surprising and nourishing the audience with crudeness and kindness.

Slap on your sunscreen, in the first quarter is a hot and hilarious cricket strip by Lauren Bok to Bob Marley’s I Don’t Like Cricket with her startling facial expressions and mischievous moves. Filling the crowd with laughs as they cheer with support after the anticipation of each article coming off, whether it’s a cricket glove or a clever bra made from groin guard protector cups. Somehow within four minutes, Dandrogony is gracefully and quickly glided by two audience members through the crowd, gives out balloons to blow up, teaches some moves and stylishly crowd surfs out. Experience a witty Cell Block Tango number, PO PO MO CO a capella style with one performer humming the melody as another sings purposely out of tune. Their caricature use of their bodies, facial expressions, and gestures are each distinctive and amusing. Laughter returns like their canny repetition of tricking the audience into thinking that their act is about to finish. Now, let’s just say Fresh and Fruity go hard (like a coconut) at well Fresh and Fruity. Bringing you a colourful, sticky and fruitful performance filled with dancing (fruit), generously giving the audience their vitamin C fix, and pouring a juicy punch over a very willing performer. Special recognition goes out to the clean-up crew!

To start off the final quarter in good-natured beep test style brought back the room’s liveliness and revealed Grumble’s bare backside in a new well suiting costume. It’s mullet o’clock as Stephen Valeri expressively lip-syncs and plays a recorder to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice. The Travelling Sisters (including their signature mullets) thrust their energetic and expressive bodies on to the stage. Benjamin Hancock holding their focus entirely and flaunts with confidence in a fabulous performance with a massage table and someone wearing their Tigers footy uniform. The room is filled with a funky voice from Claudia Jones’ outstanding singing. No Kick On party is complete without a dance lesson of purposely-ridiculous footy moves taught by the spectacular and vibrant Anna Go-Go. With a cherry to top off the night, Grumble with her clever knack for establishing and juxtaposing spoken words to what she does with her body leaves some of the audience in shock, others expecting nothing less from Grumble and of course many in hysterics. Juan Vesuvius kicks on Kick On further with his suave Disc Jockeying skills for all.

Fringe Festival 2019 has come to a close for the year. A word of advice, keep an eye out for all of these incredibly diverse and unique performers (listed above). If you’re feeling adventurous, take a step or kick out of your comfort zone and experience each artist/performer(s) kicking goals. When Fringe 2020 begins to get close, plan who/what you want to see because time flies when you’re having fun (at Fringe).

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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