Adelaide Fringe. Matt Byrne Media. Maxim’s Wine Bar. 5 Mar 2017
Byrne packs ‘em like sardines into Maxim’s on the Parade, but the audience doesn’t seem to mind! The cosy upstairs venue at Norwood fits about 100, though I’m told it has had up to 130 with standing room only. Such is the draw of Byrne’s home grown shows. Every year now for 20 earthy rotations of the sun he has created a bawdy spoof on a topical theme; this time around it is channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules.
Confession: I’ve been an MKR tragic for 8 seasons, but the format is really wearing thin, and Byrne has identified most of the reasons why in his hilarious two (+) hour show.
The time absolutely flies by, and by the end of the performance one is doubled over with aching ribs from all of the laughing.
The jokes flow thick and fast. There are puns-a-plenty and even more innuendo; but it is the performers' characterisations that steal the show, and they all have more than one standout in their repertoire.
The cast of four – Matt Byrne, Niki Martin, Marc Clement, and Stefanie Rossi – play at least 15 characters including the celebrity chefs and the contestants within the show.
Byrne plays the Gordon Ramsay rip-off, Gordon Ramraid, and almost manages the same level of vocal intensity as the all-swearing, all-shouting celebrity chef. As the ever camp Scotsman, Colin, he finds his pace and slides effortlessly into the role, highland dancing and all. Niki Martin gives us Nigella’s Awesome with sultry style. No melon is left un-creamed in her raunchy rendition, and yet Martin’s Yiayia Moussaka is her standout character and an absolute crowd pleaser.
Marc Clement spectacularly shifts from one character the next and gives each 150%. His Jamie Bolivar lisps and lilts over dialogue with uncanny accuracy. As Byrne’s Scottish partner, Justin, Clement ramps up the camp, and his Master Moussaka is scarily accurate. Stefanie Rossi makes the fab four complete, with a lesser known celebrity chef in Rachel Rayban but still makes her larger than life. Rossi shines as the hippy niece Moonbeam alongside Byrne as Daddy Moontides, and really breaks new ground with her Asian inspired cooking demonstration as celebrity chef, Pooh (with an ‘h’).
The small stage doesn’t hamper the big numbers and choreography and audience participation is full tilt, with an Adriano Zumbo inspired Zorba the Greek dance breaking out. Plenty of other characters make an appearance, including Clement’s python that just can’t resist a good pheasant plucking.
Ultimately the winning team is decided by audience acclimation, and just like in real life it is the personalities that win the day – not the cooking.
With another two weeks of shows remaining there are plenty of opportunities to get a solid dose of potty humour and laugh until you snort inappropriately, so be sure to make the trek up the Parade and don’t miss this, the 20th year of spoof for MBM.
When: 5 to 19 Mar
Where: Maxim’s Wine Bar, Norwood