This is a very hard to write review because I worked as a publicist for the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow for 10 years.

After the Melbourne Comedy Festival a group of comedians toured the Eastern coastal towns and another group was sent to West Australia, from the Northern mining towns down to the relatively subdued South West, holiday homes and resorts. The reward was a 1 week gig at His Majesty’s Theatre in units with in-house washing machines and cookery facilities. A short walk to the theatre and all were happy.

One year Dave Callan was in the line-up and I have rarely laughed so long and loud. His physical dance moves as he mimicked the dance tape playing up on the screen behind him were hysterically funny and, as perfect as the dancers were, Dave outshone them.

Last year the Fringe was stricken by COVID restrictions and Callan was at pains to explain their rehearsal problems via computer screens. Three nubile, elastic girls comprised the dance team. They were fabulous and after Callan’s intro re the rehearsal difficulties, interstate time differences and Covid restrictions, the audience was prepared to be kind. After all as Callan said “You will never see this show again or anything like it.”

How I wish this was true.

Callan, the creative mind behind the New Year’s Eve broadcast on BBC television for the year ending 1977, and lurching into 1978 was not at his tightly scripted best. He assumed the role of TV host Des Kettle. His timing was off and often interspersed with over long pauses. There were “guests” on the BBC Variety Show, Darth Vader, a magician and a hard to follow time-travelling woman.

None of them made a lot of sense, but the bumbling magician pulled off a coup when demonstrating transference magic. He placed the first young man into a booth and placed another portable booth away from the first. After taps from his magic wand he drew the curtain to reveal the fellow in the second booth!

A troupe of exceptional dancers accompanied scenes  projected onto a screen behind them. Rigorous dance numbers and music really livened up the show.

The temperature hit 41 degrees yesterday in Perth and the Gold Digger tent was probably not the perfect environment for physical strenuous activity, but the show needed tightening up.

Event details

Fringe World 2022
Dave Callan’s ’77 Holiday Special

Venue: The Gold Digger at Girls School | 2 Wellington St, Perth, WA
Dates: until 23 January 2022
Tickets: $20 – $34


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