Now that we’re on high terror alert, someone needs to be awake and taking note of what's going on. Rod Quantock’s doing this in Invitation to a Revolution. It’s so good to see a comedy show that’s about something other than the comedian. A show that’s about something. Invitation to a Revolution is ‘Sir’ Rod’ Quantock’s return to Fringe after never becoming mainstream during (nearly) the last 20 years. His last Fringe show was in 1996. He starts off by sitting in the audience then once he’s on stage he faffs about a lot with papers and women’s/celebrity magazines and a chalk board. Quantock’s naturally funny and likeable and sufficiently experienced as a comic to keep us smiling throughout. His show assumes a degree of knowledge on the part of the audience of the current governments and topical affairs but a few more explanations or introductions might help. The list of prohibited items re attending next year’s G20 summit is a scream, as are the mysterious instructions regarding carrying out revolutionary activities (to be found in next week’s Herald Sun). Disappointingly though, his comments on the attractiveness or otherwise of women in the magazines started to sound old-fashioned and even sexist – here Quantock becomes dull and ‘dad jokey’, a bit silly. He could leave off the women’s mags, or at least heap more sarcasm on them. They certainly deserve to be pilloried, no doubt about it, but he’s less clever here than he could be.
There were some excellent one-liners in the show, such as ‘Iraq – the war that never stops giving,’ and ‘Napthine – I looked it up in the dictionary and it’s not even a real word!’ On the whole though, Quantock rambles, albeit amusingly. I would love to hear more real analysis and a bit of an overview of the state of things rather than just hearing about what a wanker Andrew Bolt is. Quantock shares some of the twitter comments by Bolt’s followers. Oh dear…
Disappointingly, most of the show involves cheap and lazy shots at the current government/s and issues; Quantock’s basically having an insulting kind of a go and preaching to his choir rather than offering any substantial critique. No-one of an un-like mind would come away from his show with an altered world view, yet being on stage in front of an audience is such an opportunity to subvert by analysis. Yes, it’s a comedy show but even so, B could go further and deeper. You could nearly accuse him of just going through the motions. He even says himself at one stage ‘yes, there has been some work put into this show’. The chalkboard turn has its disappointing moments, it’s all ad libbed or at least appears to be; It’s so important to have someone commenting on the current parlous world situation in the entertainment arena and it grieves me not to have been more impressed. Having said that, Quantock’s breakdown of the costs of the EastWest Link is hilariously memorable and itself nearly worth the price of the ticket.
2014 Melbourne Fringe
Invitation to a Revolution
Venue: Main Theatre, Lithuanian Club | 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Dates: 23 Sep – 4 Oct, 2014
Tickets: $28.00 – $22.00