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Melbourne Comedy Festival goers are Spoilt for choice
Liz Skitch's show 'Spoilt' is one of 478 shows featured over 25 days in over 100 venues at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, kicking off on March 24. She has been variously described as a character-based stand up comedian, a writer/director, cabaret artist and accordionist par excellence. Did someone say 'accordionist'? Weekend Notes is most definitely in.
1. The world is divided into two types of people, and one of them is the accordion tragic. But enough of me – let's talk about you. When did your love affair with the accordion begin?
First up I have a confession... I am really not a musician and mostly get by with 3 chords on the accordion. It is really my comic side -kick, its oom pa pa keeps my jokes company and comes in handy when they flop. We are actually a comedy duo, the squeezebox 'n me.
Sounds tres cliché but I first picked up the accordion in London back in 2000… I'd just finished studying at The School of Philippe Gaulier (theatre school specialising in clown) and was about to tour Europe in a street theatre show and we needed some sort of musical accompaniment… seemed like a good excuse to buy a piano accordion.
2. Will Comedy Festival goers be treated to a little squeezebox in 'Spoilt'?
No… not at all and to be honest, I am relieved to be doing something completely different!
3. Much of your comedy is derived from close inspection of the human race with all its imperfections. Are your friends and family in constant fear of appearing in one of your shows?
Maybe not constant fear but they do see aspects of themselves sometimes. Depends how self aware they are… My mum who has a pretty sharp sense of humour picks up on my parodies and their sources instantly… but my sister and nieces are on a different wavelength and probably fail to realise that I am holding up the mirror.
4. Your new show 'Spoilt' features five characters who are self-absorbed to say the least. Is there a message there?
I hate to say the show has a message… makes me feel like I am putting on a Theatre in Education piece…. But it is certainly inspired by the current state of things as I see them. I think a lot of women have lost their way, feel their lives lack meaning and are filling the void with pretty things and visits to get their hair lasered or go to the gym. What ever happened to making yourself feel good by doing something nice for someone else? And I'm not talking about your spoilt kid or your miniature dog. I'm sorry… did I just end up ranting?! Please believe me that it is a comedy…. with bite.
5. You are a girl who clearly enjoys her work. You produce and MC The Moulin Beige in Northcote, you are directing the Youth Troupe in a clown show (also part of the Comedy Fest) at National Institute of Circus Arts (another WeekendNotes favourite) and you have performed on the streets of Europe and at festivals including Brighton, Glastonbury, Edinburgh. How do you maintain the enthusiasm and energy levels for your performances, as diverse as they are?
Well… it's all comedy, just different styles. In this industry you have to work out what you are good at and then what makes you unique then jump in and just keep on going. My training in theatre and clown got me writing, directing and producing my own stuff early on so I've always been able to create my own gigs when the big beautiful ones that arrive on silver platters aren't around. What keeps me going? The nice gigs on silver platters. But ultimately it feels great to perform live theatre and comedy and it is addictive, through all its uppers and downers. I can't give it up… not yet.
6. Finally, tell our readers why they should ease themselves off their couches and into The Butterfly Club to see 'Spoilt'.
Treat yourselves, indulge, 'Spoilt' yourself with a night out at the Butterfly Club. In the heart of the city (just across from Town Hall on Carson Place off Little Collins) it is a really unique 3 storey venue with theatre, award winning shows, bars, heaps of comfy nooks and crannies in which you can sit and sip on cocktails and a HUGE collection of kitsch. For a TRUE Comedy Fest experience, see a couple of shows in the intimate surrounds of the Butterfly Club then head round the corner on Swanston to the Festival Club to catch some big name late night acts. Go on, book some tickets, you deserve it!