What happens when a certain alternative radio host is offered a gig at a fringe festival otherwise dotted with mime artists, soul singers and fast-talking comedians? Why she hosts her production live on stage and presents it like a TV talkshow with her own swag of mime artists, soul singers and fast-talking comedians.
Moving cameras may not have been present but the vibe at Caitlin’s Big Night-Time Radio Fun Party was very much like a late-night talk show beamed into your living room. Scrap that. It was such a cosy affair it actually felt like having been hosted in your living room.
A one-night-only gig on this year’s Perth Fringe calendar, the two-hour event proved so much fun for the audience, the show really could have been repeated throughout the week. In fact, with a little promotion next year, it really ought to have a longer run.
Caitlin Neinaber, popular breakfast presenter on alternative radio station RTRFM, took to the stage looking a little nervous at first; like someone shy and being forced to make a speech at her birthday. But within minutes she was kicking back in an armchair, feeling far more relaxed with mic in hand and roping in an array of talented guest performers.
First up on the runsheet was Trygve Wakenshaw, a man who can turn even the most innocent fairytale into a wicked, noiresque mime piece, in this case transforming the tale of Rapunzel into a murder act. Continuing to shine even after his performance was over, when he sat as Caitlin’s first interview for the night, Wakenshaw and his host bounced jokes off one another like ol’ school chums while never ostracising their audience.
In the midst of their conversation sprang quips from glamour queen Famous Sharon – a kind of Madge to Caitlin’s Edna (except with a bigger mouth). Busying herself making toast for the audience (“Would that be Promite or Vegemite, and what is Promite anyway?”), Sharon occasionally piped in to offer suggestions on how guests and the audience might go about becoming as famous as she.
Also on the guest performer list were British band of gents, Racing Minds, who took themes from the audience and tied these into hilarious old-fashioned radio plays. The quick wit of these guys is truly remarkable and they almost dangerously stole the show, having gone on for a good half hour.
Next up was ABC journalist James McHale reading a mock news segment with jokes inspired by the real stuff in that night’s current affairs, including quips targeted at Donald Trump, of course.
And rounding out the evening was the wonderful Odette Mercy, soul singer and the perfect gracious guest, providing humorous anecdotes and a killer performance live, backed by a local supergroup consisting of Timothy Nelson, Todd Pickett and Luke and Ryan Dux, themselves delivering the odd punchline to great effect.
Like I said, Caitlin’s Big Night-Time Radio Fun Party really warrants a longer season on the Fringe World calendar. Here’s hoping it returns next year, perhaps even rotating artists night after night. Antonino Tati
You can catch Caitlin Neinaber presenting breakfast each weekday 6am-9am on RTRFM 92.1 in Perth or tune in at www.rtrfm.com.au.