Melbourne International Comedy Fesitval 2005
Trades Hall
Tuesday, 12th April 2005

Tagline: All hail our sexually ambiguous robot masters!

Optimus Prime is the star of a top-rating talk show with his offsider and straight-man Dalek. The intern Astroboy is the butt of their constant jokes and one show they go too far by dropping a truck on his sister. Not knowing what to do, Astroboy seeks the help of the Dalek who takes him to a robot brothel run by the Yakuza. They get his sister repaired, what he doesn't know is that part of the deal is that they now own him and his sister and want him to take out Optimus...

I had heard about this show at last year's Fringe Festival, but wanted to see if it would run again in the comedy festival as often the shows are much better due to the creators having time to work on them more. I remember doing the same thing last year when I saw Janet A McLeod's "Click here for Comedy" (which also had a guest appearance from the Dalek.)

Probably the most important thing to hardcore sci-fi fans and robot fan boys would be the construction of the robots. I am happy to say they are built very well and have stood up to the rigours of the festival it seems. Some of the robots looked a bit awkward to move around in so I was waiting for someone to fall over or get stuck, but I guess the performers have gotten used to it now.

I liked the video segments in the show also, the best one was the "Qwerty As Folk" pilot that the Dalek made. As you would expect it contains all the gay robots you would imagine and also Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man who is just "binary curious". The on-location footage of the robots is great too, with my favourites being Optimus Prime working as a replacement ATM and the Dalek trundling around the neighbourhood to the tune "Mad World" from Donnie Darko.

Special mention must go to the performance of the foul-mouthed Astroboy who I now have a crush on...let me finish! In the original cartoon the robots were sexually ambiguous anyway (only a dress really separated Astro and his sister) sho it was a great idea to have a woman playing his role. The costume for Astroboy was great also (including the hair.) Although it would have been funny to include the "butt lasers", I suspect the actress would have been too embarrassed to use them.

The show also required a lot of behind the scenes work to make it successful and their effort really pays off. I liked the "laser beam wranglers" and talked to some of the cast after the show. As I AM A NERD I stayed behind to give Scott Pollard (the show's creator) the printout of the website about T63 Artemis and my "Dalek to French" translations (they don't really have the same ring.)

I ended up enjoying this show so much that I would pay to see it again with some friends. Hopefully they end up recording some of the shows and release a DVD or VCD of it later in the year.