Fringe Review: "Sad TV Man" is a hysterical and thoughtful homage to Australian commercial TV
I can’t say I was ready for this. I’ve been to a few University Dramatic Society plays and I should have learnt my lesson from the first three. Firstly, do your homework on Australian commercial TV ranging from the dates of 2000 to maybe 2010, because in Sad TV Man, references to this obscure era of Australian history are volleyed out in machine gun fashion, giving you little breathing room as each reference clicks just a few seconds too late before the next one is made, sending you into a nostalgia-fuelled spiral.
The play follows the escapades of Bob Garfunkle, a struggling TV personality famous for his works in the naughties such as “Are you Smarter than Shane Warner?” and “Cushions!”, and is making his comeback through the platform of a studio audience-less Telethon, Bob is paired with Kate, a Wuthering Heights reading, invisible hand pushing social outcast turned production assistant whose sole responsibility is to ensure her role model’s return to stardom by the means of commercial TV. Under the surveillance of the towering, big-wig, rating obsessed executive Leonard Sprules, Garfunkle’s attempts to reclaim his forgotten fame are scrutinised by the executive, putting his career on the line.
Supporting these wacky assortment of characters are the ego maniacal Kent Somers, the ‘Mr Australian Worldwide’, so to speak (you’ll know) and a surprisingly menacing Save the Children’s worker by the name of Molly Savechild.
Sad Mad Tv is an interesting showcase of our past. But it’s the character dynamics and interplay of its supporting cast that really make Sad TV Man a Fringe show worth your time.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Due to high demand, Sad TV Man has opened an encore show at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den on the 14th, so make sure to tune in for a short and sweet hour (ad breaks excluded).