New Ballroom, Trades Hall
Wednesday, August 5
Rod Quantock is a stalwart of Australian comedy, an immovable object in a world of unstoppable forces. Over the years he’s done everything from the telly show Australia, You’re Standing In It to ads for Cap’n Snooze, and his live performances have involved everything from bus tours to opera singers. Bugger the polar bears, this is serious is his latest venture.
In the last decade, however, he’s settled on a particular house style, involving a blackboard and pithy, semi-improvised observations on the current political climate. This isn’t intended as a criticism – Quantock is hardly in a rut, he’s just found a form that works extremely well for him. His shows are funny and enjoyable, so to complain about the style of presentation would be akin to dismissing Shakespeare for his reliance on iambic pentameter.
It does make the shows hard to review though, as there are similarities from one to another. If you’ve seen Quantock before there won’t be any huge surprises in Bugger The Polar Bears, This Is Serious Is. But every Quantock show is a delight, even if his subject matter grows increasingly bleak.
It should be noted that by Quantock standards, this show is an extravaganza, incorporating three blackboards and a digital projector. On entry, the audience is met with a succession of astonishing images taken from the Hubble telescope, which Quantock uses as an example of our amazing technical achievements. We are the first generation to be able to see the beauty of deep space, while at the same time our technology has allowed us to create global warming which may well kill us all. This, he explains, “is the comedic basis of this show”.
For a show about impending doom, however, it’s remarkably upbeat. There’s more audience involvement in Bugger the polar bears is than previous Quantock shows, but it’s not done in a way that embarrasses those involved. There’s a sense that we’re all in this together, that there’s no real divide between the audience and performer. There’s just a bunch of people in the middle of a crisis, trying to find a way out.
Oh, and it’s funny.
Until August 15. Bookngs: www.bellaunion.com.au