The Spontaneous Prolonged Jaw-Drop

There's a moment I love when watching performance art. It's them moment when, at some point during a show, you suddenly realise that your mouth has been hanging open for the past several seconds.

It's a great moment. It's hard to beat the spontaneous prolonged jaw-drop as a measure of artistic brilliance. I'm not quite sure how to label the emotion that goes with that, but the thought is usually "holy crap, this is amazing." It could be amazingly funny, amazingly clever, amazingly poignant, amazingly wrong, or just all-round... amazing.

I've seen a lot of great shows here at the Fringe, but only six that caused me to do the jaw drop. Those shows were:

  • Dead Cat Bounce: An honest to god comedy rock band that scores full points for comedy and, unusually, full points for rocking as well. Intelligent, hilarious, and bad-ass.
  • The Technodelic Comedy Show: An astonishing dance/music/multimedia/sketch show by Japanese group Siro-A. Four performers, a gigantic projector, and some captivating light/sound/body manipulation.
  • Rom Com Wrong: A comedy musical by writer and director Lucy Cox. Several times during the show I found myself spontaneously applauding at how disturbingly brilliant the lyrics and dialogue were. Damn it was funny.
  • Chris Coxen's Space Clone Audition: Four characters auditioning to be cloned and sent into space. Perfect portrayals of hilariously disturbingly flawed characters. The combat dancer (who demonstrates his skills by fighting pictures of things he hates) had me completely cracking up.
  • The Pyjama Men: I'd previous seen them at the Melbourne Comedy Festival earlier in the year on the recommendation of Nick Place, and they rocked my world.
  • Amanda Palmer: I didn't manage to see her show; just her brief performance at the Fringe Central participants' cabaret. The song she sang about Lady Gaga to a packed room of performers (viewable here on YouTube) made me fall a little bit in love with her.

There have been plenty of other brilliant shows, but those were the ones that made me do the spontaneous jaw drop. There are still a few days left in the festival too, so I'm off to see if I can add any more to the list.



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