by Nick Pilgrim

The Butterfly Club is one of Melbourne’s leading, full-time entertainment venues.

Located in Carson Place, its jam-packed calendar lists a wide range of options including cabaret, games, improvisation, karaoke, and stand-up comedy.

To date, the club has headlined established stars like Amanda Harrison, Jemma Rix, and Kurt Phelan. It should also be noted that Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect kick-started their careers here.

Intimate in size, its two showrooms force close contact between performers and punters at all times. With a solid background in improvisation, Mark Gambino rises to this particular spatial challenge. His sixty minute solo turn, The Return Of Grazie Fibonacci, is a quirky mix of short sketches, pop culture and confident viewer interaction.

Australia has a strong background in this particular art form.

Examples include TV hits like The Big Gig, The Comedy Company, Fast Forward, The Mavis Bramston Show and The Naked Vicar Show, as well as theatrical experiences such as Wogs Out Of Work and The Wharf Revue.

Gambino’s sixty-minute presentation is held together by a colourful cast of personalities.  They include:

  • A commercial airline pilot;
  • A World War Two bombardier;
  • A TED Talks motivational speaker;
  • A miming cat burglar;
  • A whistle-happy soccer coach; and,
  • A prehistoric game show contestant.

Another recurring player is the show’s titular star.

Grazie Fibonacci is modelled after the cheesy likes of Wayne Newton and Dean Martin. As the journey unfolds, we discover how this cruise ship lounge singer also has a very unusual and unbreakable pact.

Propelled by Gambino’s boyish charm, his on-stage personality reminded this reviewer of Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin, and Shaun Micallef combined.

Thanks to sharp pacing, impromptu on-stage costume changes, as well as a surreal nod to radio talkback, audiences will be kept both entertained and on the edges of their seats at all times. There is never a dull moment in this madcap affair.

Its flexible format also makes Gambino’s vehicle the perfect addition to any comedy, fringe or cabaret festival programme. (In fact, The Return of Grazie Fibonacci played earlier this year to solid reviews at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.)

If you have an hour to kill in the CBD, and are looking for something twisted and fun to offset the silly season, this could be the choice for you.

The Return of Grazie Fibonacci plays for a strictly-limited season until Saturday, December 7. Check it out while you can.