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Fringe Festival Review: The Chit-Chat Lounge

Fringe Festival Review: The Chit-Chat Lounge

Review by Alison Little

The Chit-Chat
Lounge: Derek Flores, Vinyl Burns, Eric Amber

The Chit-Chat Lounge
Where: Paramount Theatre
When: 10pm – 12am Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9 February – 3 March 2007
Duration: 2 hours
Price: free

The Chit-Chat Lounge is a melange (or is that blancmange?) of a show, a self-proclaimed Frankenstienian compilation of bits from other events, presented by three fine hosts in a mock Parkinsonesque chat-show format.

This is a great place to sample hors d'oeuvres-sized snippets of other Fringe shows, and meet some minor local personalities. This review is of what was presented on Friday February 9th, but it's an absolute certainty that if you attend another night you will see something completely different.

The first half was presented by Canadian double act HotNuts and Popcorn, who were an Eric and a Derek (Eric Amber and Derek Flores). One Derek/Eric was shortish and darkish, and looked like he owned the suit he was wearing [That's Derek - Ed]. The other Derek/Eric was tallish and blonde, wearing a jacket that was possibly borrowed from a charity bin on the way to the show [That would be Eric - Ed] . Both bounced cheerfully across the stage, hammed it up in a strange pirate segment, and nearly interviewed several guests.

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These were Olivia Bryant who gave a taste of "Arch Enemies & Other Close Acquaintances," her one woman show about life with neurotics and psychopaths in New York, and Jerome Chandrahasen who gave a convincingly blokely short-form short stand-up performance.

The second half was ably compered by the disturbingly toothy Vinyl Burns, aka Kim Potter. Part revival-hall preacher, part nervous used car salesman, Potter is the absolute master of patter, never slipping out of character even when ostensibly offstage. A video tour of Otaki was … very very special. His first guest was a wannabe-mayor, who came across as someone who might be an interesting dinner guest, but didn't quite have the thrill-factor needed to hold the attention of an 11.30pm crowd. The next guest failed to show, but alter-hosts, Eric and Derek stepped into the breach with a wildly energetic rendition of the traditional improv game "A Word at a Time".

Musical interludes were provided by The Moon Whisperers – one half writing the music, singing the song and playing the guitar, and the other half providing some perfectly atmospheric cello. The duo took some minor schtick from Jerome the stand-up for being emo. This comment was a little unfair – emo (loosely translates as 'emotionally dysfunctional), is a term of mild abuse generally applied to the most tragic of pseudo-goth teens. However, to be fair to Jerome, the mildly tragically themed songs did include occasional phrases such as "your hair will burn and your eyes turn to dust". But very sweetly sung!

The Chit-Chat Lounge promotional press release promises among future delights new material from the hosts night by night, live online Trade Me auctions and contests with audience prizes. So, whether you're so dazzled by the variety on the Fringe Festival menu that you can't decide what to see, or if you're in town after other shows and just not ready to go home yet, it's going to be worth dropping into the Lounge of an evening. A place to enjoy some pleasantly proper and some pleasantly improper chit-chat.

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The Chit-Chat Lounge press release
Fringe website
Scoop Full Coverage - Fringe 07

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