Sunday, 6 April 1997

Abroad with Two Men by Biggins,Scott, Nagle, April 6, 1998u


Abroad with Two Men by Jonathon Biggins, Phil Scott, Linda Nagle
Melbourne Comedy Festival
Capitol Theatre Tues to Sun 7pm until April 20, 1997
Reviewed by Kate Herbert around April 5, 1998

The best of comic songs and scathing satire: that's Abroad with Two Men.

If you think Arts Festivals are over-priced, over-funded and overly-artsy, you'll love this biting send-up of the bizarre, the eccentric and just plain weird acts that make it to our shores.

Jonathon Biggins plays host as an assimilation of every big-shot festival director for the single remaining Festival that amalgamates all our festivals. He introduces The Agnostic Gospel Choir - who are "wholly unconvinced" about God - and the Three Clansmen, singing Scots thugs.
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The Royal National Theatre Company of Lord Howe Island who do an "original" version of Fiddler on the Roof with local references. It is an impeccable musical send-up.

Imagine the "official stand-up comedian for the Liberal Party".  Biggins portrays him as a tetchy Peter Costello with terrifyingly accurate anti-dole-bludger gags vowing that "one in four punch-lines has got to go". Biggins impersonations are uncannily real. He does Barry Otto and Julian Clary to a tee.

 Linda Nagle does a droll satire of Tap Dogs called "Tap Slobs" and Phil Scott's John Michael Howson reading Snowy River is sublimely accurate. Scott's song lyrics and piano-man skills have been a feature of numerous ABC television comedy shows.

The talent of this trio is awesome. They keep appearing with new characters, another instrument or musical style for three excellent voices.

The finale is the icing on the cake. Funding for the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony has been cut to $115 so the Scouts have been enlisted to perform it on two recorders and a cheap Cassio.

 Biggins as a Queen Scout in lime green leotard, does a dance version of  every sport in the Olympiad. His Pommel Horse gymnastics is so funny I still hurt.

It goes on. I can't tell you everything but it one of the skilful and hilarious shows I 've seen in the Festival. If you're sick of stand-ups, see it.

KATE HERBERT