Following up from her Golden Gibbo nominated masterpiece ‘The Merchant of Whimsy’, Clara Cupcakes returns this year with something both very different and very familiar. ‘Hot Patootie’ brings all the joy, unrestrained silliness and expert vaudeville surrealism that Clara has mastered over the years, and presents her journey in an interesting ‘pick-a-path’ style that makes each viewing and the sketches involved unique to each show. With a stage widely covered with potential props at the beginning, and ending with absolute carnage at the end through the process of decision making, this is a show high on energy and laughs, enjoyable audience interactions, and experimental and brave portrayals of performance in general.
As is indicated on the show’s thumbnail, the first decision the audience makes is between Clara’s journey taking place at a circus, or in Hollywood. On our particular night we were delighted to partake in Hollywood, and by observing the amount of props that were not used during the performance, it is clear that another audience will get to experience something completely different should they choose another starting point.
Clara knows how to get an audience to enjoy each set; from absurdist and hilarious sketches coated in intelligent bravado, to engaging with the audience through masterful interactions that you would rather be a part of than avoid. Some sketches even tackle the funny, then not so funny, to inevitably ‘funny once again’ aspects that will not be spoiled in this review.
Clara is bold, Clara is distinctively hilarious, and she knows how to make you feel comfortable, whether in the audience or up on stage beside her, while also making the uncomfortable moments entertaining as hell. A true vaudeville professional.
Corey M. Glamuzina is a Melbourne-based actor, writer, improvisor and comedian with an avid involvement in the art of theatre and film.
‘Clara Cupcakes – Hot Patootie’ runs from 23 March – 3 April, 8.30pm (50mins) at The Butterfly Club – Downstairs, Carson Place. The venue is not accessible.
Check out our guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more great shows.