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Review: I'm not your Patsy at Campari House

By Grant Virtue.

I'm Not Your Patsy forms part of this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival. It was formulated by a group of friends who have been in a band for around a year who decided to tell a story about modern-day dating and the search for love, through music and song. This is Cabaret.

The venue is hidden down one of Melbourne's iconic laneways. Campari House - it's an Italian restaurant with a rooftop bar and has function rooms for hire. We enter via a discreet door off the laneway and climb a tight art-encrusted stairwell to find our venue. It is a small function room seating around 50-60 punters. The venue exudes a definite ’pub’ feel with wooden chairs facing a low stage, with a black velvet backdrop. Simple stage stand lighting is sufficient throughout the performance.

It is here we are introduced to and become part of, The North Coburg Polyamorous Support Group. We are joined by the four-piece band, ’I’m not your Patsy’.

On lead vocal we are introduced to Patsy Incline (Fran Woodruff), on acoustic guitar Patsy Recline (Kate Follington), on drums Patsy Drumline (Todd Beckinsale), and last but not least, Patsy Hookline (Shane Murphy).

The show is about love and the lovelorn or even loves lost. It navigates the maze of online dating and the current and emerging explosion of abbreviations and acronyms, that indeed, leaves us all baffled. Who knew demisexual was a ’thing?'

The narrative is carried by well known and loved 80’s and 90’s hits with a country bent. This was opening night so the usual nerves were there and the show definitely warmed up as it went along. The sound mixing could have been better, the instruments often obscuring the vocal, leaving us guessing, and missing the punchlines. The full drum sound in a small space also made the vocals hard to hear.

The costumes consisted of the obligatory stetson hats and cowboy boots. I'm not entirely sure but I think one of the male leads was wearing a tea towel skirt!.

There was really nice energy and camaraderie between the players. Patsy Incline kept the energy up with her beaming smile, always watching the other players with care and support. Patsy Recline played the deadpan bumpkin perfectly. Patsy Hookline held it together with a strong anchoring vocal and Patsy Drumline played the perfect foil for the others looking like he unknowingly just walked in off the street.

I could talk about character development and vocal quality and range, but hey, it's Cabaret, it was just good honest fun. The sing-along we were expecting didn't really eventuate, but we got to walk down memory lane and smile, but not sing.

If you are after a bit of escapism and some fun then head on down to Campari House. Playing nightly until Monday 16th of September.

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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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