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Cam Venn: Charles Horse Lays an Egg - Review

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by Aridhi Anderson (subscribe)
Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
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A magnificent show which leaves nothing to the imagination
Cam Venn: Charles Horse Lays An Egg is a surreal science fiction comedy show by Cam Venn, running at the Lithuanian Club from 14-29 September 2018 as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.
Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.


The earth is dying. Charles Horse is a lone astronaut out in space who accidentally makes contact with a mysterious, somewhat menacing, space chicken. After initial engagement and communication, and with help from NASA's best minds back home on earth, it turns out that all that the chicken wants is to make love to a human male... and Charles Horse will do. Incidentally, if he agrees to be the man for the job, Charles Horse will end up with a way to save humanity and pave the way for a new hope and a new future.

Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.
Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.


This show leaves nothing to the imagination. The punchline is in the title. The plot is in the blurb. If this show sounds nuts, if it sounds like it's seriously out there, that's because it is. Cam Venn's Golden Gibbo Award-winning show is about what lengths astronaut Charles Horse will go to save humanity - perhaps a metaphor for the lengths Venn will go to entertain his audiences. Yes, he really does lay an egg. And no, the lights aren't out when he does it.

Everybody knows where this show is going - but the joy is in how it gets there. And nothing except the experience itself can prepare you for that.

Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.
Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Richie Hallal.


Charles Horse Lays an Egg is a show with no concept of a fourth wall. It is a one-man show in theory, but Venn doesn't let you feel like it is - he engages every section of the audience at every step of the way. "Team work makes the dream work," he says with a smile and a wink. He spends the first few minutes of the show fully clothed, easing you into his style and into his space, and preparing you for all the laughter to come. From there, he goes into hyperdrive. When he does, it feels for a moment like diving headlong into a cold pool - there's slight initial shock, but you get over it quickly, and it's smooth sailing from then on.

Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Carina Bergmann.
Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Carina Bergmann.


The show feels like it is simultaneously a spoof of and also a tribute to every beloved science fiction movie ever made. Venn entertains his audience with a host of ingenious props, hilarious voices/sound effects, and clever character and costume changes. His performance, while being bold and brave and incredibly skilful, is also zany with not a trace of pretence (or frankly, even elegance). That is his greatest strength. He is natural, he is relatable, and he gives the audience an abundance of warm fuzzies. Venn is a delightful performer who plants a smile in your heart with his smooth interactive instincts and pulls off an insanely challenging show as if it were child's play.

Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Carina Bergmann.
Cam Venn in Charles Horse Lays An Egg. Photo credit: Carina Bergmann.

"Tell other people... who are into this kind of stuff," Venn says with a laugh at the end of the show. Even though there were a lot of people in the audience the night I watched the show, it's easy to see why he might say that - the show is extremely silly, has a lot of nudity, sexual references and genitalia, bumholes, sex with a space chicken and an egg laid in outer space - probably not everybody's cup of tea. I had certainly never watched a show of this kind before, and I had no idea what to expect. But Cam Venn - Charles Horse Lays An Egg has turned out to be among the most creative and entertaining shows I've seen at the Fringe so far this year.

If you're on the fence about whether or not to go, maybe go ahead and take that leap of faith. Charles Horse would do that for you.

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Why? Because he is funny as heck, and actually lays an egg
When: 14-29 September 2018
Phone: (03) 9660 9666
Where: Fringe Hub: Lithuanian Club (The Loft), 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Cost: $20-$25
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