Glynn Nicholas and Gretel Killeen - His and her versions of our lives. Holden Street Theatres
Glynn Nicholas and Gretel Killeen have not worked together for decades. Now in Adelaide with a double act, one can’t quite say they are working “together” so much as sharing the bill. It’s a two-act show divided into two performances following a delightfully quirky joint introduction.
The overarching gag is ageing. Both performers describe the pain and pleasure of increasingly epic life experience: Killeen with a self-denigrating tongue in cheek and Nicholas with raw confessional honesty.
Killeen has the stand-up comedy thing down pat. She must be among the best female stand-ups on stage in Australia right now. Her routine in this show is throw-back-your-head, laugh-out-loud funny. Her delivery style is oh, so casual. Almost incidental. It’s so nicely woven that one is barely aware of its careful construction. And she is gifted with that rare attribute, the witty off-the-cuff response. Hence she can afford to be fearless in audience interaction. She will always have a good come-back. She uses the audience constantly as a reference point, asking if people have had this or that experience, often rhetorically but always lowering the fourth wall and engaging directly. On the opening night at Holden Street, this was a tall order, literally. The house was packed to the rafters. And the massive audience loved her, rightly.
There is something delicately simpatico about her shtick while at the same time edgy and frank. She tells tales of looking for love, of the perils of parenthood, of the ageing body, embarrassing moments, living with celebrity and, of course, her amazing psychic powers.
Nicholas is Act II. He’s an engaging performer, beloved of Adelaide audiences. He has the best impish eye in the business. For this show he does a by-request revival of his old Channel 9 satiric creation, Pate Biscuit, now re-named Pat. Out of more than a quarter century of retirement, the hand puppet, Bongo, is as hilarious as ever and together they deliver an outrageous Story Time. Thereafter Nicholas picks up his guitar and sings I am a Mess; a strange song which parodies misery and preludes Nicholas’s accounts of mistakes and failed marriages. It is bare-heart stuff peppered with wonderful throw-away lines.
Now living back in Adelaide caring for aged parents, Nicholas says he has found new zest for life in the highly nuanced world of the Argentine Tango, and suddenly the audience is listening to a fascinating dissertation on the tango which is to be followed by a demonstration with, as luck would have it, a very beautiful and seasoned tango dancer from the audience. Pity Nicholas never asked her name. She had style. He rewarded her with a lollipop, an old trademark gesture from his famous Rundle Mall busking days.
It’s not what one expected but then again, what did one expect? Something different. And it is.
The performers close the show with I Got You, Babe - and a very acceptable Sonny and Cher harmony is revealed along with some anarchical improvised lyrics. Killeen has a marvellous voice. Oh, why do we discover this almost as an afterthought? Ah, but it’s promising content for another show.
#NiceNight #LotsOfLaughs #GrabaTicket
When: 12 to 20 Jan
Where: Holden Street Theatres