What a way to rock in the Easter Weekend with the team behind iconic Australian music trivia TV show RocKwiz following the sold out show at Arts Centre Melbourne last year. Following our chat to Brian Nankervis ahead of the show https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/brian-nankervis-its-another-really-really-good-friday/ he and host Julia Zemiro are joined by Kate Ceberano, Billy Bragg, Mike Thomas (Weddings Parties Anything), Kylie Auldist (The Bamboos, Cookin’ on 3 Burners), Hailey Cramer and comedians David O’Doherty and Anne Edmonds for a night of comedy and music and enjoyment, plus celebrating Zemiro’s birthday.
The theme of the night is sharing your Easter humiliations and traumas, most of them involving cod and white sauce for dinner, and I’m glad my generation seemed to have skipped that part. Here’s my Easter trauma: my brother used to be on collecting the newspaper each day as one of his chores, and at Easter, he used to use this as an opportunity to scout out where all of the eggs were, and one year in the height of Harry Potter mania, he actually collected all of the Harry Potter chocolate frogs that Dad had so carefully hidden, so that when it was time for the Easter hunt there wasn’t actually anything to collect.
The show, a staple of the Australian music culture that has been on air since 2015, and 12 years later the show still has a cult following. The show invites 6 audience members up, randomly selected by tickets under their chairs, to join Zemiro on stage and be seat warmers for her celebrity guest. Easter quiz gives way to music quiz, which introduces each performer, with a witty song from Edmonds – “You should have got a trolley” at the supermarket, to songs from Thomas, Bragg and more.
Kate Cebrano is the grooviest of the bunch, but Kylie Auldist and Hailey Cramer continually bring the house down with powerful voices, and David O’Doherty is never without a witty response or quip to keep the show interesting. Nankervis scores and add points wherever he feels, and gives the audience points when they shout out the answers or sing along. The Jack Rabbit Slims twist contest, just like out of Pulp Fiction scores teams extra points, and is joined on stage by actually bunny, Wilson dressed in a bunny suit (I believe he was chosen for this honour, and the honour of assisting in scoring and handing out prizes in the foyer before the show). We all sing happy birthday to Zemiro and play Million Dollar Riff, and ruminate on the all important Easter question of the evening: “If Pontius Pilot had a favourite Easybeats Song, what would it be?”. It’s just a little bit sacrilegious, a lot nostalgic and there’s no show without an encore, in this comfortable rock and roll family affair.
Could they have gone for more “Easter” themed music, sure: what I wouldn’t give to see Bragg singing “Like A Virgin” or “Like a Prayer” and Cebrano reprise her role as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar (and she does give a tiny, delightful taste away during the quiz), but the show and the format works.
I’m not quite the target audience or demographic for this show, but my mum certainly loved it and it was a highly entertaining night at the theatre. Hamer Hall is packed with people my parents age who are absolutely lapping it up: the references to music across the best of the70s, 80s and 90s, and the specifically Australian music references, as what some call the year’s most boring day off into a celebration of culture, music and comedy.
RocKwiz have just wrapped up some filming for their latest season in the recently renovated Gershwin Room at the Espy, so keep your eyes glued to SBS for older episodes, and this new season in 2018.