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Matt Byrne must work all year on his annual Fringe production. He is the writer, producer and director of this latest show, running all month long during the Fringe festival. This year he brings us Vegans, a comical look at all things vegetarian. But to be fair, the greenies, the gluten free and the meat lovers all have equal say. Be prepared to 'meat' the crew who come bursting onto the stage like jumping beans, keeping us in a stew of giggles for the entire show.
The brains behind the laughs, funny man Matt Byrne.
There are four characters in the show. Byrne plays the character Greenie Thumbs, who runs the local market. He is sort of sitting on the fence with his political views. Like many of us, he believes in all the vegetarian ethics, but just unashamedly still loves meat. Byrne plays his character with the excellence we expect of his now 23 years of bringing us Fringe classics. His shows are sell-outs for a reason. They are just so funny and are a reflection of some aspects of today's society. Byrne is a true team leader, encouraging his new recruits with some ad hoc lines to get them to remember their lines. And there is a lot of content in this show to remember. I went on opening night, so this did not bother me. Beats me how they remember it all!
Lauren Weber plays Tegan the Vegan, who is squashed in between her morals and ethics and the meat-eaters, trying ever so sweetly to deliver her side of the debate. And she can tell a yarn as well, popping in and out of the various characters in the many sketches during the performance. She is as cool as a cucumber and as pale. Probably a lack of iron. She needs some brighter lippy. They do make vegan ones you know!
Jayke Melling was my favourite character. Us coeliacs have to stick together. He plays Gluten-Free III and gave a fantastic monologue about the trials and tribulations of being on his special diet. I was moved. I totally understand. He was totally believable. All the performers gave their own little piece to tell their story and it was if he was talking from his dear little artichoke heart.
The suffering and misunderstood Gluten Free III. Image provided by Matt Byrne Productions.
The final character, Meat Lover, was played by Adam D'Apice. Meat is his delight. It is his source of vigour and ensures his virility with the ladies about town. Even the vegans behind me were in fits of laughter over his musings. Yes, vegans could see this show and would not be offended
The show is actually a series of mini sketches, lasting for only a few minutes each. They cover the standard vegetarian jokes and many new ones skillfully written by Byrne. They cover the politics of veganism in a lighthearted manner, the Maccas burgers, BBQs and allergies - it's all there. The highlight of the night was the cows leaning over the fence in the methane flatulence sketch. Well done to the sound guy for making this so hilarious. Shows the audience still loves school yard toilet humour but on an adult topic.
There was only one thing missing in the show. I expected to see vegetables being tossed about on stage. But alas, no vegetables were harmed in this production. The team work well together to make this show a stunner for Fringe this year. Go along, as you will not be disappointed. The show is on now until the end of Fringe in mid-March. For tickets see here.