A theatre full of orthodox Jews makes for a surprisingly engaging audience.
I received a call a couple of months ago from friend, mentor, and 50+ year entertainment industry veteran Chuck Fayne. He wanted to check whether I'd be willing to help out with a charity fundraiser show that he organises each year. The show is for the Malki foundation - a charity that supports the families of children with disabilities.
Since I basically owe Chuck a blood debt for teaching me a huge number of valuable lessons about performing, I wasn't about to say no.
I then ended up as de-facto artistic director for the show. Chuck was running short of people who could participate, but luckily I knew a few weird and wonderful performers who were up for helping a charity and doing a show.
A few phone calls later, we had a pretty solid line-up:
Nicholas J Johnson - Australia's Honest Con Man.
Kate Mulqueen - Piano. Girl. Songs.
Dave Lee - Apparently a Magician But Actually a Time Traveler.
Emma Shepherd - Aerialist and Hula Hooper.
Simon Coronel - This Guy.
We were a little concerned about the crowd - we'd been told that they would be an orthodox Jewish group, and we should make sure to keep it all nice and PG. We needn't have worried though; the crowd was thoroughly enthusiastic. As Chuck explained: "These people very rarely see this kind of performance, so are going to be even more blown away than an average crowd."
It was a great feeling to be able to make a few calls and throw together a really solid night of variety entertainment. Everyone performed, I hosted, the audience was happy, money was raised, and the whole night was seriously fun. The balance of different performer styles was so good that we even thought about spinning it off as an independent variety show.
Maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't. Stay tuned.
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