Monday, July 30, 2007

Three Things That Made Me Laugh This Weekend

Overview of a large weekend: Finished my temporary shitty cafe job at 3pm, headed in to Sydney Opera House for another full shift at 4pm. Home. Sleep. Opened the shop Saturday morning as I received a text from shop partner who was supposed to be taking over at 3pm so that I could head down to The Opera House for another night shift. He's been out all night and even though it's 11am he's still kind of out and can I please organise someone else to take over at 3. Lots of expletives. That squiggly vein on my temple throbs a lot. I call around but the backups have plans. I ask a friend who has never worked in the shop if she can do it and she proves what I have long suspected; she's a bit of an angel. I spend the first couple of hours in the shop writing out instructions and procedures. Then I flick my brain switch and write the review of the play I saw on Thursday, which is due first thing Monday morning. I hit The Opera House at about 4.30pm. Finish at 10.30pm. The Dreaded One and I have planned to go to a psytrance night but don't actually get our shit together until about 4am due to the high level of nonsense we are talking whilst blobbing on the couch. We go to the club and have a couple of hours of fun. Back home at around 6am and prepare to go to a psy party in the park. Make it there at around 11am and have a blast. Serious fun. It is going until 10pm Sunday night but I have an Important Meeting with a Cool Dude on Monday afternoon (which I have just returned from) so I attack the day early with the intention of straightening up enough to be Mr Charming Pants for The Cool Dude. We get home around... sketchy on the details here, but I did have the strength of will to leave what was a pretty damn fun party early. Fell asleep on couch. Woke self up with inadvertent finger poke to the eye due to sleepy head nod. The Dreaded One laughed at this. Food appeared. Ate. Drank wine. The Dreaded One fell asleep so I poked her in the eye and laughed at that. Made it to bed at about 10.30pm, having packed in rather a lot.

So the three things that made me laugh?

At the club for our brief appearance. Dancing. Loads of Israeli's who love their psytrance almost as much as the Brazilians do. They're all pretty drunk. I feel disturbingly sober. Still, it's fun in a messy kind of way. Spilled booze makes it the stickiest dance floor ever.

At one point this big wall poster comes away from the wall and wafts down to the floor. It sits on the sticky floor, just being all big and white and oblongular. There's a girl dancing just in front of me, dancing just on the edge of the poster, so I tap her on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me - you have a little piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe."

She freaks out a little and looks for the little piece of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. I say no, this piece of toilet paper and wave my arms at the poster. She gets what I mean and doubles over laughing. She looks up at me as she laughs and I laugh too, and isn't that the best feeling? Making someone laugh like that.

Then her boyfriend who has watched this without knowing what was so funny comes over all possessive and wraps his arms around her and starts snogging her. And I'm thinking it's cool, dude, I didn't want to put The Big Kahuna inside your girlfriend, I just made a joke.

Second thing that made me laugh... at the party in the park there are these weird sculptures scattered around the place (it's a psytrance party so there are also lots of scattered people scattered around the place). They look like elongated doughnuts... or like big eggs with holes through them (and yeah, I'm talking about the sculptures, not the scattered people). Someone tells us that earlier in the day someone was taken to hospital because they tried to dive through the hole through the middle of the sculptures and split their head.

Like, I feel for them and everything, but this is exactly the kind of shit tripped out psy-people are doing all the time, so I can't help but laugh (and it's just reminded me that I still haven't told you about the tripper who tried to make friends with the ostrich). And looking at the hole they tried to dive through, it's not exactly small. In fact it's so big that I consider having a go at diving through one myself... but I have an Important Meeting with A Cool Dude the following day and I don't really want to explain that the fresh stitches in my face are a result of trying to jump through the hole in the middle of a giant egg in the park.

Third thing that made me laugh... talked with lots of people in the party in the park Had a really good conversation with a lovely girl called Jocey. Music's pumping, people are stomping or sitting around talking and laughing, everything good. We're having a really good chat about lots of stuff. Standing there chatting. Listening. Talking. Not moving. The ground, being a park, is big and green and flat. It is also not moving.

Suddenly Jocey starts flapping her arms about and kind of teetering like she's a tight rope walker. I'm a bit stunned because I have no idea what brought it on. Her arms do spastic windmills in the air and she bends at the waist, first one way, then all the others. Her back arches backwards and she bends fully until she is touching the ground with her fingertips. She stays like this for several seconds while I helpfully stutter, "Erm... what... are you... is this a normal thing... um..."

Jocey finally kind of springs back to a standing position, looks at me, giggles a bit and says, "That was close."

"What was that?" I ask. "What did you just do?"

"I've had vodka and I think I just fell over. Happens all the time. Friends tell me they don't know I'm drunk because I hold myself together so well, but sometimes I fall over."

I've just remembered more things that made me laugh. You'll have to come back another time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Major Bang Review

Latest of my reviews to appear in Drum. It struck me again how easily normal people laugh. I think I smiled a couple of times but didn't make any of the hahas. I don't know whether that was because there was a very human message at the heart of the thing and it was making me think too much to laugh... I don't know. It happened at A Porthole Into The Minds Of The Vanquished too, although that had no message as such, I think I was distracted from the humour because of the inventiveness of the show.

Anyway, here's my 350ish words worth. Last line didn't come out the way I'd intended. I was trying to say that part of the show's point seemed to be that in reality most of us in Western society are largely less under threat from terrorism than we are from more mundane threats, like traffic accidents or illness, yet this culture of fear exists and is nurtured by the governments, more than likely as a distraction. Here in Sydney we've recently had tax payers' money ploughed into the promotion of the "Go Bag", a bag of emergency items we're supposed to have at the ready in case we find ourselves under attack or victims of natural disaster.

If this is not a case of the government asking us to live our lives in fear, what is it? Besides a bit of accidental comedy in itself.


12 months ago I was on a train in London headed for Heathro Airport. Crowded train, lots of travelers. An American woman started getting jittery about a suitcase that had no apparent owner. Panic rising, she started asking people if they owned the suitcase. Crowd reaction was a mixture of what the fuck is she on about and heeeey, maybe it is a bomb. In the end she woke the guy sitting next to the suitcase and he said yes, it was his, and he went back to sleep. Stupid American. And yet...

This is what Kirk Lynn’s play does. It lampoons the culture of fear we’re burdened with in the Age Of Terror while at the same time making it obvious that in so many ways, we do have reason to fear. It’s funny, sure, but it also gets into your head and will have you discussing it for hours afterwards and thinking about for days.

The patchwork story starts with an abandoned backpack. It could be a bomb. It could be a backpack. What if it’s just a backpack? What if the treacherous symbolism we now attach to abandoned luggage is unfounded? What if our jitters are unwarranted?

On the surface Major Bang is fun stuff, playing with the bizarre story of the ambitious Detroit boy scout who built a nuclear device at home to earn a merit badge; Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove; sappy movie The Bodyguard; an impressive Lenny Bruce take on the culture of fear; and more. Actor Steve Cuiffo is also a magician so there are a few card tricks and other sleight-of-hand visuals, and his comical dexterity at playing several characters simultaneously is impressive. Maggie Hoffman is his cohort in this performance which surprises and delights like a fireworks display of humour and ideas. The closing soliloquy is poetic and human and quite moving.

Can local government boffins pull their heads out of their “Go Bags” (WTF?) and see Major Bang please? You’re in dire need of the kind of reality hit this absurdist play delivers. Cancer’s scarier than terrorism.

At the Playhouse, Sydney Opera House until 29 July.

Monday, July 23, 2007

House Head

Check it out. I call the Opera House The Opera Home because these days I am either Faux Chefing there or seeing theatre there to review, then The Dreaded One comes home with this so that if we wake spooning, I have a fluro pink image of The Opera Home burned into my eyes. Fucking sensational.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Who The Hell Is Crash Tyler?

Last night I dreamed I had completed my crime novel and had taken the manuscript to an agent. They liked it and wanted to have a meeting. The agent is a real one who I once sent a dodgy novel manuscript to and I didn't want to jeopardise my chances with this one, so I was using a false name. The pen name my sleeping mind gave me was Crash Tyler.

In real life I have a different name to the one I was born with, and as far as pen names and nicknames go I've been (or tried to be) a variety of different names, and I am always coming up with names for characters in stories. I have never thought of the name Crash Tyler. But that was the name my subconscious mind was having me introduce myself as to my agent.

I quite like it. I may have to build a story for Crash to live in.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Take The Moon Ride

The plain, bare fact of the matter is that I am scared to throw myself into my novel. I have the storyline worked out. I have a five page synopsis including the cast of characters. More information came to light recently about the enigmatic main character (whose name is Quick), so that now I know him well enough to step fully into character, which I have done before.

I have the first 5,000 words written in the form of a short story that was published in a magazine called Crime factory a few years ago. Crime Writer Garry Disher recommended I get in touch with the magazine when I mentioned that as well as stories like Remembering Argos, I also dabble in crime fiction. I think he possibly had something to do with how quickly Quick the short story was accepted. The publisher at the time said he definitely thinks there is room for a Quick novel.

It's all there, waiting to be written. And yet I keep stalling. It's not "writer's block", it's just fear. Fear of comittment, fear of failure... I'm just a useless piece of shit at the moment.

I sat at my desk the other day and mind-watched the novel and almost started writing. I allowed myself to be distracted. I fiddled with other things. I went back to the novel. I watched its complexities and possibilities unfold. I didn't bring a word into existence.

At the end of the day I felt a little sick, because I had let another entire day go by with nothing written.


I was fascinated by this though: Bubba Shaggins is alive and well and rumour has it he is contemplating a comeback.

For those who don't know, Bubba Shaggins was (is?) the lead singer/guitarist of legendary Australian psychedelic folk/rock collective Bilbo Nanna Shaggins. BNS released one album in the early '60s called They Came On A Moonbeam. The album, like the band's name, was a dedication to his mother and father who he believed came from another planet. The album remains almost unheard of by the wider music-loving community but has achieved mythical status by "those in the know" for being the most sampled album of all time. Pink Floyd started the ball rolling by sampling the track Cosmic Lullaby on Dark Side of The Moon, and the legion of artist to sample other tracks on range from Led Zeppelin, The Beatles through to more contemporary artists including Jeff Buckley and Simon Posford (Hallucinogen).

The psychedelic music community around the world is buzzing with the news that not only is Bubba Shaggins alive and well and living just out of Nimbin in Northern New South Wales, but that he is putting the finishing touches on a long-awaited - and, many would argue, long overdue - follow up album, reportedly titled Return Of The Moon Rider.

Very exciting stuff.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Until a few minutes ago I was convinced that that whining hilton piece of rubbish was the last human being I would ever want to meet.

But I just saw something on the increasingly useless television about an utter utter twizz-head called posh/victoria, appendage to a man called david who kicks balls around a big green oblong and has nice hair.

Jesus fuck... where, exactly, is evolution taking us?

Underbelly Review

I really enjoyed this music and arts festival. Good things are happening at The Carriageworks. This is my little tiny review as it appeared in Drum Media.


I fucked up with this one. I didn’t arrive early enough. I should have gone through the fortnight leading up to Saturday night to check out all the works in progress that would culminate in what turned out to be a pretty amazing music and arts fest. But at least I made it along on Saturday night... did you?

The Carriageworks is a wonderful venue and Underbelly utilised its full potential. It was a visual and aural wonderland, a spellbinding feast for the senses that had this writer wandering around in the daze of a delighted child.

I tried scanning the program to see which performances and installations I wanted to see but in the end gave in and simply allowed myself to be swept along by the ebb and flow of the very colourful crowd. First up I found myself in a darkened room watching a whimsical shadow puppet show about a kid called Minkhead and her friend Bumpy to the sound accompaniment of Meem, and I was completely enchanted.

I was less enchanted by Aural Adventures, a kind of musical game show where the audience held up coloured cards to put the band through hoops; it was kind of funny but basically one joke that went on for too long, and there was too much else going on outside to stay in one place for ¾ of an hour. You couldn’t help but be restless.

Wandering, wandering. Nooks, crannies, sit down and become part of the artwork, expect the unexpected. Magical things were done with shapes and shadows and lighting; a room appeared to have been recently vacated by its down-and-out inhabitants; a suspended block of ice dripped into a pool casting mesmerizing shadows across a concrete wall while a thousand downy feathers swirled underfoot in the chilly winter night air. A maze of giant screens hung from the high ceiling and carried moving images of modern day trains in this cavernous relic; at other times the sculptures were tiny, intricate things. At yet other unexpected moments a seemingly impromptu work of flesh and blood would explode into living art and draw a crowd of surprised and delighted onlookers.

Underbelly played to a capacity crowd and was a wonderful success. I want another one please.

The Underbelly public arts lab & Festival was on at The Carriageworks from 3 – 14 July.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Pigeon Christ

The column below was one I wrote when back at the other mag, probably about three years ago now. Or two. Something like that. It's being turning gradually yellow, stuck to the living room wall beneath a yellow fluffy duck who has been crucified on a couple of wooden spoons. The duck is known as Pigeon Christ, by those in the know. I hadn't read the column probably since sticking it to the wall. It's become part of the furniture and I've almost stopped seeing it. But I leaned closely and read it again after all this time, and it amused me. I thought I'd share.

Story behind it is that I was flat out trying to make Friday deadline. I was writing more than I probably should have and was starting to feel a little worried about this last job for the week because I had no ideas. Usually there's stacks, but not this time. I finished a pretty angry half page about violence in clubs because a couple of really sweet girls I knew had been bashed in a club I used to go to all the time. I was really angry and I vented (got fan mail for that one)... and then it was time to flick the switch and write some humour.

Nothing. Not good. Not time for nothing.

Then an email came in. It was from a good friend. I read the email and my whole mood changed because here was a gift, here was my column.

The opening few lines are straight out of her email. Somewhere into it I took over and together we produced a pretty damn silly last minute Acid Tongue column. It saved my arse.

Acid Tongue

by Grumpy Bird

I ran out of sleep juice at about half five this morning and I have been lying in bed thinking about nailing pigeons to skateboards and pushing them down a hill. But then it occurred to me that pigeons' feet are probably not the best for nailing, seeing as they are more toe than feet, and really, tying them on just wouldn't have the same effect. And then I thought, it's a bloody good thing Jesus wasn't a pigeon because they never would have been able to crucify him and the last 2000 years would have been so totally different. I mean I can't imagine the Spanish Inquisition happening over a pigeon that didn't get nailed to a plank of wood. And then I thought, maybe it isn't such a good job Jesus wasn't a pigeon... Pigeon Christ, when you think about it the world as we know it simply wouldn't be the world as we know it if Jesus had been a pigeon that wasn't nailed to a cross by some cranky Romans... in fact the symbolism of the cross would never have come about because trying to nail the pigeon to the cross would have made the Romans even crankier and one of them would have eventually suggested nailing the pigeon to some other shaped piece of wood... like cutlery. Yes, a wooden spoon nicked from the Last Supper... whoa - that's another one. If Jesus had been a pigeon nailed to a wooden spoon stolen from The Last Supper, what would Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper have looked like? How would he have managed to get the model pigeons to sit around the feeding bowl for long enough to paint them and... would the disciples have been pigeons too? Wait on... yes. Yes of course the disciples would have been pigeons, and so would Leonardo da Vinci and the cranky, kleptomaniac Romans, they would have all been pigeons. But what would all these pigeons be doing with spoons and what would they be doing trying to nail one of their own kind to cutlery designed by those nuisance humans. Clearly none of it could have happened because it just doesn't make sense. No sense at all... now a duck, on the other hand, is practically built for skateboard nailing.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Bit Of Crime

I write darker stuff too. Scroll down to my name or click here. Writing this kind of stuff is still fun... just in a twisted way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reviews: Dead Caesar and Dinner

Hello, regular reader. You might notice I've dropped the nom de keyboard I was using for this blog and am just using my real name. Why? Because Quick is actually the name of the hero of the crime novel I am about to get back to writing and he's nothing at all like I am. One of those wanky creative things where I needed to separate blog me from the character completely.

What else. Oh The Important Job Interview... Nothing terribly predictable happened, like me running late because my shoelace got caught in the escalator at the railway station and they had to shut the whole thing down and get the emergency rescue people in and in the end I decided that rather than be late I'd leave the entangled shoe there and make it to the interview on time wearing one shoe, which I put in dog poo but didn't notice until the interview was underway.

Nothing typical like that.

Still, it could have been better. I probably won't get the job. I didn't realise how much I wanted it until I arrived at the office. I wanted that job a lot and it would have been the start of New And Good things. Oh well. Getting the interview at all was a bit of a coup and the experience was good.

Below are two reviews as they came out, more or less, in Drum this week. I had intended to expand on the 350 words of column space I'm allowed for each, but I can't be bothered right now. Right now, I want wine.


Having watched the Chaser team grow ever more desperate for laughs on the small screen (did anyone find the Sophia Loren thing funny?), I was curious to see this play, a comical look at the life and times of Julius Caesar, written by The Chaser’s Chris Taylor.

No desperation here, just a big, silly romp. It’s farce with song and dance, a sprinkle of lefty preaching and loads of laughs. The Monty Python influence is unforced but unmistakable. Dead Caesar played to a packed audience and the laughter rarely stopped.

Actors break out of character, cue’s are missed with precise comic timing, racial stereotypes are nailed, everyone falls down and gets up again, there are songs about togas, songs about scene changes even when there are no scene changes, a very funny bit about a NIDA-trained thespian pissed off because he only gets one line (this is milked to perfection), there’s a bit of cabaret, more silly ditties, stabbing, more stabbing, a song about stabbing, a bit more stabbing, lots of referential jokes from everyone from local theatre critics to Diver Dan to Steve Irwin to Amanda Vanstone, and there are a couple of interludes featuring the stabbing scene as interpreted by the likes of Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen.

And just for good measure, there’s a bit more stabbing.

I agree with playwright Chris Taylor who thinks Shakespeare missed his opportunity when he wrote Julius Caesar, but it’s just as well because it’s given Taylor the opportunity to redress the bard’s oversight. How can a story about a political leader wearing a toga and being stabbed by his closest toga-wearing friends not be funny?

I think even Sophia Loren would find Dead Caesar a bit of a cack.

At Wharf 2 until July 28.


Perfect, wealthy wife Paige holds a dinner party to celebrate the publication of her husband Lars’ new self-help book. The guests include dippy hippy Wynne, former lover of Lars; a scientist mate of Lars, Hal, and his brand new ‘news babe’ trophy wife Sian; and rough around the edges stranger Mike. There’s also the menacing presence of a silent and efficient waiter hired especially for the occasion, and we know from the start that the waiter’s going to do it, but we don’t know exactly what he’s going to do.

The dinner party as a battleground is hardly an original device, but it does present the opportunity for heated discussion of ideas as well as the clash of personalities as egos and personal rivalries are unleashed by copious quantities of wine, thus ensuring The Dinner Party as an enduring theatrical setting. Oh yeah – there’s also plenty of opportunity humour, served, in the case of Moira Buffini's play, with acid.

The humour is probably what will ensure this season is a success. Belinda Giblin is excellent as Paige, so icy and acerbic it’s scary. She skewers her guests and her husband with ice pick precision as her bizarre culinary concoctions are laid out on the lavishly set table. Alice Livingstone as the tree-huggin’ Wynne also has several quite hilarious moments. In fact all characters have their moments, albeit it with varying degrees of success, with the scientist and the news babe feeling a little like caricatures there for the set-up rather than properly fleshed out characters.

And that’s probably the weakest aspect of the play – each character represents something larger, which in turn makes us question what, exactly, the play is saying; it is questioning the notion of fulfillment and what true happiness is. Much is made of Lars’ great tome of wisdom, and there is a great little sight gag which speaks volumes about the self-help industry.

If the play is not completely fulfilling with close scrutiny, it does come close if you simply sit back and enjoy it for it’s deliciously dark comedy. Definitely worth seeing.

At SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross until 4 August.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I might start posting some short stories here. Some have been published and disappeared into the secrecy of pages between covers surrounded by books sitting undisturbed on shelves. Others have not been published and might never see the light of day.

The very short one below was written a looooong time ago. I've never believed in what this micro-story is about and I still don't, but the idea is a nice one for the purpose of stories. I can't remember what prompted this story, but I do remember that I sent it in to a radio station for some arts thing and they selected it to read on air. I was driving at the time and was caught by surprise when they mentioned the title. I pulled over to the side of the road and everything seemed to stop because my words were coming out of the radio.

It was a nice little moment in time, and I hope others find the story as warm and fuzzy as it's intended to be. The radio announcer liked it, then speculated because of the androgynous nature of my name, "Do you reckon Lee is a girl or a guy? Hmm... I reckon she's probably a girl."



Cats, she said simply and slowly.

He gazed down as though she had tossed the idea before him for his scrutiny.

Cats, he repeated, yes cats could be nice.

This really meant that he thought he had a better idea. She knew this. She knew him.

You have a better suggestion? She asked.

In his strange way, he smiled.

What this time, she wondered. Horses? Birds? Or white-eyed fish from the bottom of the ocean? She thought about cats – fur, warmth, laziness, sleep.

What could be better than cats? She asked.

Again he smiled.

People, he replied.

She thought about this. He watched her think about it.

Eventually, after a time, she shared his smile.

Human beings, she said, a good idea.

They joined hands, as formless entities might join hands, and drifted down once more.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

An Introduction

There appear to be a few theatre types dropping by after a mention by this always engaging blogger. It's doing my head in a bit because on the one hand this blog is about silly shit. On the other hand it's been increasingly about theatre reviews, which I sometimes even take seriously. I've been trying to decide whether I should split the two blogs and have one for reviews and theatre discussion, and this one for what it is that I write here... which is... what it is.

Anyway, by way of introduction to people who have not been here before, here is a pretty typical night at the theatre with me. You can scroll down for a couple of reviews that I have taken seriously and there are a bunch of links to others on Sydney Stage, now Australian Stage.

And that's the thing. If you come back - and I do hope you do - you might get a review of Dinner, which I am seeing at The Stables tomorrow night, or Dead Caesar which I am seeing at The Wharf Theatre on Saturday night.

But you're also just as likely to get the story about the tripped-out hippy friend who tried to make friends with a cranky ostrich and was consequently terrorised, which is what I had been intended to post today.

Or if you come back tomorrow you'll no doubt be reading about what went wrong at the Very Important Job Interview I have tomorrow, because that's what happens to me. Stuff goes awry. It just does.

Anyway, hello, and hope to see you again soon.

PS, if you scroll down to this recent post, beware: fruity language warning.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Things Not To Include In Your Resume

I've been sending out a resume for quite a while now that I saved as "Resume." I haven't read it in quite a while. I just write a covering letter and attach the file.

Just minutes ago I got curious and decided to read the actual resume in case in needed to be tweaked or updated.


Maybe a year ago I applied for something involving humour (clown? Probably), so I decided then to tailor the resume to the job. Stupidly, I saved it as "Resume" and forgot that it had been comically tweaked.

So ever since then, prospective employers have been reading a resume that includes such things as: "Prior to 1997... look I really can't remember what I was doing prior to 1997 because there was rather a lot of alcohol involved and it's all a bit of a blur. I think I had fun though... lots of blurry fun."

Then there's this gem: "I consider this an achievement worth mentioning because I had always regarded myself as being breathtakingly lazy."

I think I have to implement some sort of resume labeling system. Yes. That's the thing.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Belated Porthole Review

I recommended this production to someone and he went along with half a dozen friends, none of whom liked it. Woopsie. I didn't guffaw quite as much as those around me, but then I'm not a guffawing kind of guy. I did smirk a lot though. It was really very silly.

I'm getting closer to getting serious about separating theatre reviews and my mindless twitterings into two blogs. I just have to come up with a suitable blog name. And then get around to actually doing it.

Anyway, here's this almost as it appeared in Drum Media recently. Bit late if you live in Sydney, but keep an eye out for it if you live elsewhere. I think it's worth checking out. I enjoyed it a lot.


Initially I thought this was going to wear thin pretty quickly. It’s absurd musical sketch comedy set in the twilight zone of the mind unshackled to reality. It’s a variety show of weirdness coming to you live from Studio Insomnia. Nothing makes sense. It’s surreal. It’s surprising. And my concerns that it might wear thin unraveled into a purple belly button banister.

In short, this is very silly, very funny stuff. Tamlyn Henderson and Warwick Allsopp morph into a bizarre gaggle of characters existing in that dream place where chaos reigns supreme. Almost asleep but not quite, we see people and things we recognise from the waking world, but nothing predictable happens. It’s a bit like climbing into a Dali painting with the Monty Python team singing a lullaby about iguanas and umbrellas. Totally loopy.

Henderson and Allsop seem like such a perfect creative team that you marvel at the odds of them coming together at all. Both clearly possess a delicious sense of off-kilter humour; both appear to be excellent actors; and they belt out a bloody lovely tune to the musical accompaniment of keyboardist Jeremy Brennan. Apparently the material was written mostly via text messaging while Henderson and Allsopp were away touring on separate ventures. They obviously spent a lot of time trying to amuse and out-weird each other, and we reap the rewards.

So what actually happens on stage? Erm... there’s a kind of radio show with commercials and sleep-deprived late night callers; fractured horoscopes; a self-knowledge quiz (I think that was my favourite segment); a creepy, wise old Chinese guy (hang on – he was the funniest bit); a thoroughly warped promotion for self-improvement (shit – this was the funniest part); there’s a guy trapped inside a phone; a bit about releasing your inner Audrey Hepburn ... it’s all disjointed and funny, but with something potentially disturbing not too far away.

They’ve been hits at local comedy festivals and are now heading to the Edinburgh Festival. I’d wish them good luck, only I really don’t think they need luck. A Porthole Into The Minds Of The Vanquished is just a very good show. See it. You’ll laugh your penguins off.

At The Studio, Sydney Opera House until 30 June.