Claire Hooper was in sparkling form at the Perth Fringe despite the performance venue being a square black box made of canvas. The “seating” was hard wooden benches with a completely useless thin cushion; a quarter-inch of foam clad in plastic. To add to the discomfort factor the show was a sell-out and we all had to move along to the perimeter of the walls. Close was an understatement. And still she made us laugh!
She set the tone immediately – “This doesn’t feel fire safe does it?“
Hooper is mistress of the deadpan straight-face, irony-laden punch line. Yet she also charms with her sunny smile and the occasional mime of particularly awkward moments.
She grew up in Perth suburbia and so threw in a few local references to her part-time jobs while studying post-school. Or, I assume the telephone sex job was post-school!
Hooper is married and has 2 small daughters and a husband, Wade, who gets quite a lot of attention.
The title of the show does not refer to any particular fashion fad. No, it references anger. Hooper has discovered The Break Room in Melbourne and she is happy to share her experience with the audience. For $50.00 you can get a suit of protective clothing, a face mask, mitts and a baseball bat and you can go into a room and smash stuff up – photo of person you’d like to smash in frame, optional extra, $5.00.
Not to be too much of a spoiler, I will simply say Hooper uses this fabulously creative marketing exercise and refers back to it skilfully throughout the show.
There were delightful, painfully funny school girl reminisces, before she moved on to her domestic life in Melbourne. This also provided a rich vein of humour which Hooper mined to the max. Trials of parenting being one of the reasons that the audience ran a complete gamut of ages. There were “those who were there”, “those who had been there” and younger “not there yet” audience members. The rise and rise of comedy on television has been an absolute boon to courageous stand-up comedians.
Hooper had an hilarious finger-counting mechanism to count off straws that broke the camel’s back. Citing the words “calm down” as an incendiary device, she deployed this technique to perfection. The neighbourhood in which she dwells, has a motor-bike shop around the corner, hoon drivers and features anonymous damage to cars parked on the street. Inside the house sometimes seems the only refuge.
Hooper ended with a sweet and happy incident in this rather unpromising environment. Philosophically speaking, can you choose not to be angry?
Hooper may not have the answer but she makes the question a highly entertaining personal exercise.
Token Events presents
All The Rage
Venue: Ramp at The Ice Cream Factory | 100 Roe Street, Northbridge WA
Dates: 12 – 18 February 2018
Tickets: $30 – $35
Part of the 2018 Perth Fringe Festival