Truth or lie? That is the question at the centre of a fun-filled night at the Brunswick Ballroom featuring a number of highly regarded showbiz-types, drawn from comedy, television, film and music.
They are divided into two teams of three, with the “players” varying from show to show. The night I attended, there was Emily Taheny, Mike Finch and Brian Nankervis on one side and Dee Mason, Alison Ferrier and Adam Zwar on the other. The concept arose via Zoom to fill time and stay sane during lockdown, so that is at least one coronavirus positive.
Round one involves each of the six reading from cue cards and then answering questions about their contention, posed by the other team and the moderator. Then the opposing team has to choose whether the assertion they read out is true or false … based upon how convincing a yarn they have just spun.
To give you an idea of the flavour, here are a couple of proclamations: “I once had to make an excuse to leave a parent teacher meeting because I was so repulsed by the teacher – Alison. “As a child, I always used to check underneath my bed before I went to sleep. One day my dad was waiting for me wearing a balaclava – Brian.
One of the six cue cards simply read: “special skill”. In that case, the reader, Mike, had to speak about just that – a special skill he has. He selected balancing beer bottles end to end. If true, he had to subsequently demonstrate that skill.
After a short break, round two starts with a game called “Mine”. Each team shows a photograph of an object on a video screen and each team member explains why that object is theirs. Then the other team has to pick whose item it actually is.
This particular night the first team displayed a small bottle with a cork top containing a white substance. One claimed it was a vial of crushed rosary beads, a second said it contained the ashes of a great man and the third a sample of crushed rock. The second team showed a photo of a snow dome featuring dolphins. And on it went from there.
The round finished with Adam Zwar claiming a special skill at reading couples’ relationship problems based upon their respective star signs. And to top off the night, host Karen Davitt introduced what she termed “host’s choice”.
She said the following: “When I was a child, we used to play a game at Christmas to release tension”. She claimed it was an invented physical pursuit, which she tried out on us, the audience. Then each team had to choose whether or not what Davitt was telling us was true or not.
All participants were most entertaining and each of the seven (host Karen included) are talented and funny in their own right. Three stood out for me. The detail in Emily’s delivery was impressive and convincing. So, too, the intelligence of and conviction in what Dee had to say, even when things got decidedly blue. And Brian’s enthusiasm for the colourful yarn was a pleasure to behold. But, I reiterate, all had their moments.
The best way to gauge satisfaction is to “read” a room. Suffice to say, the room was with them. The audience was there for a good time and laughs, and they would have left satisfied. Pants on Fire is a rolled gold hoot. It is on at Brunswick Ballroom on 7th and 14th April, 2021.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Michael Shafar 110% (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) – stand-up comedy review
- Coral Browne: This F**king Lady (Brunswick Ballroom) – theatre review
- Black Santa (Fad Gallery) – stand-up comedy review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.