Hip Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy | Backwards AnorakFrom the blurb you might expect this show to be a dig at Melbourne's inner-city uber cool dudes – the tribe congregated around the independent republic of Brunswick who distinguish themselves by their beards, piercings, tattoos and short fringes, and whose totems include fixie bikes, retro clothing and obscure art.

The pretext for the storyline is, after all, a visitor's view of this corner of Earth, as seen through the eyes of two intergalactic travellers from the planet K; how do they blend in, what clothes do they wear, and what idioms and attitudes must they adopt.

But this is actually a love story, blending elements as diverse as Aladdin and Fifty Shades of Grey.

As part of Melbourne's Cabaret Festival, it's a musical, picking a range of popular classics to echo appropriate moments; while the quality of the singing is inconsistent, it hardly matters in what soon becomes a bit of a farce; sometimes the choice of song in itself wins a laugh.

Right from the start the two man show, starring Vince Milesi as Prince Harian and Michelle Brasier as his slave girl/attendant, Minge, has the air of a chaotic drama students' workshop – but in a good way. Nobody takes themselves seriously, keyboard accompaniest James Baker lobs in the occasional aside, and a couple of pals in the audience get dragged in from time to time.

At its simplest, Prince Harian (in a chunky knit cardigan and leggings) is on a mission to find a wife, and has set his heart on finding the source of an ethereal voice he has heard from outer space. Meanwhile the hopelessly besotted Minge tries to be a good loyal maidservant promoting his cause – while she longs for him to see her as more than a slave girl (in a violently coloured '80s ski jacket and pink ra-ra skirt).

En route, their expedition discovers a whole lot more about human nature, hipster beards and how to tell the time without swearing.

It says much about Milesi and Brasier's comic timing and subtlety that the audience spends much of the 50 minutes in a slightly bemused state of hilarity, wondering why they are laughing at quite blatant examples of brutal bullying and disturbing sexual abuse at the, err... hands of a hand puppet.

If undergrad humour offends you and you are not comfortable with 'adult themes' and bad language, this might not be the scene for you. But if pre-show drinks in the shadowy eclecticism that is the new Butterfly Club fills you with wonder and your sense of humour enjoys being led astray, chances are you'll laugh til you wet yourself. Just a little bit. 

Backwards Anorak presents
Hip Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Venue: The Butterfly Club | Carson Place, off Little Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: Thursday July 4 and Saturday July 6, 2013
Time: 9pm
Tickets: $23 – $20
Bookings: at the door | 9663 8107

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