Sunday 8 October 2023

HOT FAT CRAZY - Cabaret Review

WHAT: Hot Fat Crazy
WHEN: 4-8 October 2023
WHERE: Trades Hall (Music Room)
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY: Thomas Bradford and Eadie Testro-Girasole

Thomas Bradford and Eadie Testro-Girasole - photo supplied

Tommy (Thomas Bradford) and Eadie (Eadie Testro-Girasole) are a powerhouse new comedy team on the Melbourne circuit. This year they debuted an explosive new cabaret at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and they have brought it back for a short return season at Fringe Hub as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Hot Fat Crazy is a jam-packed 50 minutes of great songs, hilarity and sock puppets.

I first came across the work of these two fabulous performers in 2018 with Bradford's musical Tinder Tales. Hot Fat Crazy sees the pair lean into their strengths and their performances are high energy and faultless.

Hot Fat Crazy sees Eadie's character writing in her diary as she reminisces about her time in a psychiatric facility. Everything seems quite normal for that first minute of the show. It is when she discards the diary that things fall down the rabbit whole of outrageous surrealism. The diary (Bradford) comes back with a whole lot of attitude and the first banger of the night 'Welcome to the Psyche Ward' explodes, as do the audience - with laughter.  

We go on to meet Trish (Bradford) and Trish (Testro-Girasole), the ward nurses as well as a whole bunch of other patients and characters. Oh, and did I mention the sock puppets? Georgia Gurr and Cat Woodfield are the puppeteers and they were amazing both as puppeteers and also in their cameos towards the end of the show!

After witnessing Eadie's in-patient sex romp we also travel down a time lapse into characters of the past. I mentioned earlier that this show is surrealist so the 'journey' Eadie takes does not need to make sense. Just go with it. 

Here we come to the one part of the show which shook me and upset me, and I really hope they change it. Testro-Girasole sings a sexy siren song about Mothman, her homophobic cat. The song is brilliant and she is brilliant singing it. Along the way though, Mothman (Bradford) comes out into the audience and incites a full on audience chant shouting 'ban gay rights'. I assume this is meant to be ironic and at the end of the song Tetro-Girasole says "he is allowed to say that, he is gay". For me though, the entire incident was terrifying. 

I hope the people in the room didn't really think that, and were just going along with it, but it scares me to see how easily a group can be incited and how few of them were able to resist joining in if they really didn't think that. I consider myself a sophisticated consumer of theatre and I assume nothing hateful was meant with this song and the way it was arranged and performed, but I don't think it was contextualised well enough and I left this show feeling scared and incredibly sad. To be honest, I wasn't able to enjoy the rest of the experience, but I know there was some fabulous work after that song.

The show continued with all of the amazing energy and talent for comedic performance as had been displayed up to that point. In particular, 'Magnet Wizard' was heaps of fun and the sock puppet band was delightful.

Up until the cat song, I was on my way to giving this show 5 stars. I can't ignore the horror that song caused me though, and I can't support a show which says those things and performs them in such a way. I do think Tommy & Eadie are going to be a comedic force in the future. Keep an eye out for them.

2.5 Stars

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