Moosehead is a big word and an even bigger deal in the comedy world and comedy festival season. It has been supporting Australian comedy for over 30 years through the Brian McCarthy Memorial Trust with recipients of the award ranging from Denise Scott, Adam Richard and Corrine Grant to Geraldine Quinn, Tom Ballard and Sammy J. This year’s recipients are Fringe Wives Club Tessa Waters, Rowena Hutson, and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard Glittery Clittery: A ConSENSUAL Party. Watson Tegan Higginbotham, Liam Ryan and Adam McKenzie GO TO HELL! and Michael Williams Escape from a 90s educational CD-ROM!
In this Part 1 series of talks with the 2017 additions to the Moosehead alumni, I spoke with the girls from Fringe Wives Club about their show, about Moosehead and everytjing in-between
What significance does it have for you (and your act) to be one of the 2017 Moosehead recipients?
V: Tess, Ro and I have been calling each other the “Fringe Wives” for years – and the idea of us writing and performing a show together has always been something we’ve joked each other about, that we wanted to do but didn’t have the time or resources. We’ve had many a late-night session in the back of an Artist Bar somewhere laughing about outrageous things that would happen if we joined forces on stage.
T: Particularly because we each come from different backgrounds. Ro is a beautiful, hilarious storyteller, Vicky loves comic song and plays a billion musical instruments, and I am the booty-shaking physical comedy idiot. In the immortal words of Captain Planet, with our powers combined…
R: So last Edinburgh, I was discussing idea about a solo piece I had in mind, and Vick was keen to write a soundtrack for it. Then Tess wanted to create an interpretive dance to go with it, and we realised, simultaneously, that we should just perform it together.
V: But it was receiving the Moosehead Award that a. gave us a kick up the arse, and b. actually allowed us to actually follow through on the idea and do it. As we’ve all had success in Melbourne and other international festivals with our previous shows, the Moosehead panel knew of us individually – but knew that an ensemble show would be something very different.
What do you remember most about being told that you were a recipient and what did you do to celebrate ?
V: I was on the other side of the world! At home, in London – I think I was at a birthday party with friends, actually – and as I remember standing up, shrieking, and swearing really loudly after Ro and Tess had skyped to give me the good news. And then I bought the room a round of drinks!
T: Ro and I went in for the interview only the day or so beforehand, and speaking to the panel about the project really cemented the enthusiasm we had already built up. The good vibes were flowing, but you just never know – so it was amazing to have that reinforced when we got the call the next day!
R: I had just come back from the UK and was still recovering from jetlag, but finding out that we had won, celebrating with loads of prosecco and getting pumped about making a brand new show was a brilliant way to overcome tiredness! I thoroughly recommend it.
How difficult was the process and what do you think your unique quality was that enabled you to stand out as one of the recipients?
R: We made the decision to apply for the Moosehead Awards very quickly. One of us (Tess I think?) suggested it as a potential catalyst for creating a joint show, and we set to it. The most difficult part of the process was pinning ourselves down to put the application together! At the time, Tess was touring her Rockstar Kids shows around Melbourne, I was still travelling the UK post-Edinburgh Fringe, and Vicky was juggling cabaret gigs in London. Luckily the week we needed to finish the application was the week I was due to stay in London, so I was writing up ideas at Vicky’s kitchen table in Hackney, while she was getting ready to go out to work for the evening and Tess was having breakfast on the other side of the world!
V: The whole process reflects the way the Wives were formed – it’s a nickname for us, as well as a larger friendship group (the Fringe Wife Massive!) that traverses different festivals and continents, where no matter the highs or lows you were experiencing, one of the wives would be at the ready with an espresso martini and a celebratory and/or sympathetic ear. It’s a support system, a family, a network of inspiration and enthusiasm for what we do, both artistically and in terms of producing your own work and being your own boss.
T: I think the ethos of the Fringe Wives is reflected and supported by the work the Mooseheads do, a shared set of qualities that made us good candidates for this sort of grant. The Awards are there to fund ideas that are overly-ambitious, exciting and different. The Fringe Wives came together to support each other as independent artists, self-producers and friends. And the development process will bring together our different talents to present ideas that we are excited to present as a festival power trio!
How did the idea of your show come about and how would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it?
R: The initial idea that I brought to the table at that fateful brunch in Edinburgh was an exploration of a question that was put to me by an audience member at my solo show. How can we, as card-carrying AND dance-party-loving feminists, qualify dancing to certain songs that have solid beats and catchy tunes, but misogynistic lyrics? Blurred Lines is a case in point, but
We knew that music is so powerful that you could set a series of real-life catcalls to a sweet beat and still want to dance to it. But the challenge was to create an antidote to this sort of song.
T: After that, we couldn’t stop talking about how to bring our version of feminism to the stage, using our skills and love of creating interactive, light-hearted entertainment to foster a politicised dialogue with the audience. The seeds of Glittery Clittery: A ConSENSUAL Party had been planted – we wanted to create a cult cosmic comic cabaret feminist disco party that was simultaneously a celebration AND a call to arms.
V: This was in August. So the following six months of political anxiety, the rise and subsequent fight against the normalisation of hatred in the wake of Brexit and Trump has only served to reinforce that we are not alone in wanting to talk about these issues. Feminism is not just about gender equality now; it’s about fighting oppression in all of forms, with all the tools we have, and in all the ways we can. Glittery Clittery is inclusive and intersectional, love-led, body-positive, champagne-fuelled, resolutely proactive, raucous, risqué and covered in sequins!
What would you say to encourage people to attend?
V: Come party with three award-winning comedy festival she-wolves for a late-night high-energy show full of original hilarious songs, anarchic audience games and the greatest sequin-covered jumpsuits to EVER grace a Comedy Festival stage!
R: Anyone can join the Fringe Wives Club, and there are only three rules:
- Tell everyone about Fringe Wives Club.
- You can have a dick, just don’t be one.
- When the beat drops – we dance.
T: So bring your most fierce moves, pour a glass of bubbles and get ready to join this comedy cabaret extravaganza!
See the girls March 30 – April 23