Friday, October 19, 2012

Canberra Theatre: Tim Ferguson - Carry A Big Stick

Oh, I miss The Big Gig.  And The Late Show. And The Money or the Gun. And  Fast Forward /Full Frontal/ Big Girl's Blouse.  Or possibly I just miss being 20 years younger ... Whatever the reason, I wasn't going to miss Tim Ferguson's one-man show Carry A Big Stick at the Playhouse on Friday night - and I can only be grateful that he didn't adhere to the rest of Teddy Roosevelt's injunction.

There have always been rumours around the break up of the Doug Anthony Allstars, most of them hinting, albeit sadly, that "Tim was behind it". There has been bewilderment and disappointment that he'd have lent himself to the crass commercialism of Don't Forget Your Toothbrush and Unreal TV, and then, most recently, there has been concern, and curiosity, as he was seen in public more often than not with a cane.  Tim Ferguson "outed" himself a few years ago as having MS, and this is his story.

Ferguson has been doing this show for a little while now, but occupied that happy space in which he is both completely familiar with his material, and it's still new enough to be fresh. He quickly built up a strong rapport with the audience.  Something that jarred quite a lot, however, was his constant (albeit fond) jibes at his fellow All-Stars by calling them "girls" (plus a transphobic reference here and there to their "operations").  The politically incorrect humour of DAAS always had an iconoclastic edge; but this was just weirdly reactionary and unfunny.

That aside, Ferguson was immensely likeable, his story was more interesting than perhaps I had expected, and I laughed a great deal too.  It was nice to hear his reasons for leaving DAAS, and there is clearly still considerable affection between him, Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler ("a tough name to have in high school").  It was also good to hear his own take on the abomination that was Don't Forget Your Toothbrush and his reasons for accepting the job - his description of the state of his health during the Logies appearance that led to it was compelling (and the exhange that followed with Elliott Goblet, priceless).  And it confirmed everything I've ever thought about how Channel 9 does business.

Verdict: money well spent, especially for anyone nostalgic for the great days of Champagne Comedy. Or even Funky Squad.

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