Amy Hoggart As Pattie Brewster: Just A Normal Girl Doing A Cool Show
Underbelly Bristo Square
The impact of character comedy is amplified in small rooms. As Pattie Brewster, AMY HOGGART needs to stay in the skin of the pyjama-clad girl who is slightly deranged, a multi-cat owner, and clearly desperate for friendship. A non-creepy dream-girl, as she describes herself.
The show takes the form of a book talk, where Pattie explains how she researched and wrote her new self-help book Pattie Brewster's Guide to Life/Pattie which she hopes will lead everyone to ultimate happiness and follows Why Do I Have To Be Me All The Time? and Who's That Rashy Girl In The Corner?
Hoggart is so, well, Pattie so well it's slightly overwhelming at times. Audience members asked to participate looked genuinely wary of the tiny girl in fluffy slippers. The material is generally string though, saying she finds people difficult to read "like Chaucer or Wingdings".
Pattie uses videos to show her research methods and it's here that the character really works. She works best in the real world with some context to flesh out her lonely existence. It's not too difficult to see the character being developed soon for TV shorts.
Doing straight stand-up rather than playing a character CAROLINE RHEA is well-known to all of the audience, apart from Kurt from North Carolina, as Aunt Hilda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Just as well, as quite a bit of the material revolves around just that. Arriving to the pomp of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline, there's already a bit of a party atmosphere and it's clear the crowd are already on side.
That's handy, as the hackneyed "I just can't understand your Scottish accents" was old when Russ Abbott wore a CU Jimmy hat 30 years ago.
Tales of Sabrina were entertaining, particularly her descriptions of Salem the talking cat. Her reminiscences of growing up were also warm and funny up to a point. A slide show of the family album felt like padding, to be honest, and as beautiful as her four-year-old daughter is, an avalanche of pictures isn't comedy.
As a whole the show is enjoyable, but slightly disappointing in that it feels so obvious - lazy even. Rhea is such an engaging performer that more imaginative material would elevate her stand up-into something truly special. An audience full of Kurts would have certainly killed the buzz.
David Quirk: Shaking Hands With Danger
If the title Shaking Hands With Danger leads anyone to believe that, as an Australian, DAVID QUIRK wrestles crocodiles, think again. The leather jacket hanging behind him is a key to the show, flirting with danger rather than striding up and grabbing it by the hand.
Quirk is a considered storyteller rather than offering a riot of gags. The once-upon-a-time moment involves his discovery of Guns n'Roses as a child, and particularly his fascination with guitarist Slash. The hour does have a thread and comes full circle, but no spoilers as to the denouement, which is nicely done. The bulk of the tale is concerned with one night that spoiled a loving relationship and led to genital warts. Actually, his penis does pop up quite often, not literally of course, which is faintly disturbing as he bears something of a resemblance to a young Michael Crawford.
Quirk managed to achieve a lot with not a huge amount of material. More substance to the set would see his star in the ascendancy - no danger.