Bronya (played by Julia Zemiro, below), a snappy hostess with a penchant for younger men, opened a fantastic evening of comedy at the first of a series of Character Comedy shows at Trades Hall on Sunday 19 July. The next date is this Sunday, 16 August 2009, and you can get gig reminders on Facebook. The event is organised by my fabulous friend Nelly Thomas. Bronya particularly liked 17 year old Harry in the front row.
The Grumpy Uncles (below) warned up the audience at the start of the show. ‘Talk dirty to me in Hawaiian’ was well liked.
Claire Hooper was great as Sadie (below), a ditzy 14 year old obsessed with her blog about Twilight.
Isaac Drandich as Bulipan Kwobinyarn (below) was brilliant as Australia’s first indigenous prime minister.
The sold out crowd (below) enjoyed the show.
Damian Callinan as Troy Carrington (below), a mediocre former AFL player turned country football team coach, was the outstanding act. Troy’s tales of footballers learning to speak Elizabethan verse to insult umpires on the field, end of season trips following Mozart and Mary MacKillop tours and other escapades were surreally funny. Damian’s melding of low and high culture, such as the vision of footy players getting peppermint body scrubs at Daylesford spas, was a winner with the audience.
Bronya’s accent slipped a little on occasion but Julia’s quick wit did not.
The other thing that slipped was the customer service from the Bella Union bar staff. Knowing it would be popular, and not having made a booking, I arrived 20 minutes before the advertised start time of 4pm to guarantee getting a ticket and a seat. I was surprised to find I was one of the first people there.
While standing in the doorway I met Di, who was similarly motivated. It took 10 minutes of standing there to be dismissively told that door sales would open at 4pm. The show was obviously going to start late.
We took a few steps further to the bar in anticipation of a beer. After another 5 minutes of being ignored we were flippantly told that the bar would not open until 4pm. We were then told to leave the room and queue in the staircase. I told them exactly what I thought of that.
The event was advertised on Facebook and the Bella Union website as starting at 4pm. If the scheduling had to change, that is acceptable. What is not acceptable is being treated like scum by indifferent bar staff who acted like we were in the wrong when they were clearly disorganised.
The onus was on them to manage the situation by clearly explaining what had to happen and to apologise to the eager customers for the inconvenience. They failed and, except for Nelly’s excellent show, I have no plans to return to the Bella Union.