Ruckus Slam

Ruckus Slam


Posted 2015-04-29 by Natasha Poyntonfollow

Wed 27 May 2015

So just what is I hear you ask? For the uninitiated (like myself) it's kind of like an open mike night for original poetry, but you can really perform anything – dance, relate a story or sing a song. The night I went it was comedy night. Judges are selected from the audience and score each of the poets, from one to five, using types of different dinosaurs to indicated the score, naturally. There are no props, costumes or music used and contestants have a time limit of two minutes to 'slam', after which the audience starts a rousing chorus of "You're the Voice."

Sound strange? It is. Wonderfully weird, offbeat and, at times, bizarre. And I was lucky enough to be invited along to see it in action.

Set in one of the less desirable areas of the valley, the New Globe Theatre at 220 Brunswick St is the sort of place I wish Brisbane had more of - interesting, underground and unpretentious. However, seating is limited so it is worth arriving early to avoid sitting on the stairs at the back or standing all night.

The front bar is particularly well stocked with gourmet beers and great wines, so I grabbed myself a glass and entered the Ruckus.

The night opened with an excerpt from an upcoming production, Collossi. It set the tone of the evening well with crazy and amusing antics performed as very physical comedy. Incidentally, tickets for the upcoming performance are available through 's Facebook page but you will have to get in quick as the performance will be held on a bridge, making seating for each show extremely limited.

Then the began. A sacrificial opening act was called; someone who would perform but who was not part of the Slam competition itself. Their performance would be tallied so the judges could calibrate their scoring. In this case, it was the seasoned comedian and very tall, David Ridley who related a bible story about circumcision, in one of the more amusing versions I have heard. It really was laugh out loud funny.

After this, contestants were called randomly to climb up to the stage and recite their original work. Each had their allotted two minutes, with no props – just a microphone and a piece of paper. At the end of each they were scored with the dinosaur cards. The material varied incredibly, from the earnest espousing their world view, to the life affirming and incredibly slick poetry, to the amusingly absurd, to the extremely clever observation.

We heard a dedication to Campbell Newman with a good rendition of Advance Australia Fair, an incredible slamming duo who were still writing their lyrics as the first performers took the stage (not that you could tell – they were good!), amusing observations about Easter eggs rebranded as Anzac eggs, and a very astute and amusing replay of some first world problems. Some performers were standing up for the first time, others had done it before. I cannot imagine how nerve-racking the experience must have been for each performer – and all did remarkably well.

But the thing that struck me most, despite having a scoring system, was how supportive the audience and organisers of the event were. There was never an uncomfortable silence, nor condescending golf clap. And certainly nothing ever approaching a jeer or boo (good natured heckling for the organisers and MC's, obviously well-known and loved by the crowd were notable exceptions). Every single performer was cheered like a champion, in recognition not only of their work and performance, but for even having the courage to stand up and try it out. It was recognition that what they had just done was hard, that everyone has to start somewhere and that their skills should be nurtured.

There were also professional comedians who performed at the end of each of the Slam rounds. They included the talented Ell Sachs, who is one third of the Travelling Sisters comedy show and on her way to perform at Edinburgh. She performed a number of different personas, most notably a French, non-guitar playing, poo-poo picker-upper. YouTube sensation James James also performed his unique mix of humour and magic and political truisms and the phenomenal Matt Ford, stand up comedian extraordinaire.

is held on the fourth Wednesday of every month, with the next on the 27th May. Tickets are $5 and available at the door on the night. Slam sign up starts at 7pm with a 7.30pm start. If you want to see some good home-grown comedy and find out where it all starts, bring your best dinosaur roar and come along.

!date 27/05/2015 -- 27/05/2015
196948 - 2023-06-16 04:23:33


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