Apr 07

Comedian Q&A: James Hazelden, Denouement



What can people expect from your show at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival?

Denouement is a good old-fashioned comedy/mystery play — a sublimely silly and frenetically farcical whodunit.

A stately English home, an amateur detective, a missing will, a bloody knife.

Everyone is a suspect.

Anyone could be the next victim.

Nothing is what it seems.

A traditional thriller that descends into a surreal and subversive celebration of the genre complete with surprise twists, suspicious characters and sparkling black comedy.

What have you been up to since the last time you were here?

Denouement comes to you from the writers of the Mystery Radio Theatre live radio plays, and features cast members from the Theatre of the Worldpodcasts and the TBC Theatre Company. Mystery Radio Theatre was called ‘One of the standout acts from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’ by Theatre People reviews.


Who should see your show, and why?

Anyone who is a fan of Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple, Midsomer MurdersCSI or any crime mysteries will enjoy this comedy that pokes fun at the classic whodunit and amateur detective thrillers

And while the show is fast and funny, there is a real mystery to solve behind all the black comedy and chaos.


What’s your No.1 tip for people coming to see a show at the comedy festival?

The festival isn’t just all stand-up shows.

There are also theatre shows (like ours!), improvised shows, sketch, character and music shows.

Try to see different types of comedy — that’s the best part of the festival.


Which other comedians/shows are you keen to see at this year’s festival, and why?

Sir Robert’s History of Horror is a very funny character show for fans of old-fashioned horror movies.

Judith Lucy, Damien Power and Kitty Flanagan are hilarious standups.

And there is a lovely version of The Importance of Being Earnest being staged at Chapel off Chapel.


What do you love about Melbourne?

The cast and crew of Denouement are all Melbourne natives and we love the artistic energy of this city.

There is always so much comedy, music and theatre to see at all times of the year, and Melbourne places a real value on its arts’ community.

It’s always very gratifying to be a part of this, and have the opportunity to write and perform in such a lively and electric place.


Who or what is your comedic inspiration, and why?

We’re big fans of classic British comedy such as The Goons, Monty Python, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, and Noel Coward.

We love the surreal elegance of their writing and performing, and their delightful timing and cleverness.

We also like homegrown comedians such as The Aunty Jack Show, The D-Generation, John Clarke & Brian Dawe, Shaun Micallef and Tony Martin.


- Herald-Sun

Original article HERE

Apr 06

Denouement!: A Review

A delightfully silly murder mystery at the Comedy Festival
Denouement (written and produced by James Hazelden & Nicholas Rasche, directed by James Hazelden) is playing at La Mama Courthouse from 3 – 7 April 2019, and is the perfect Comedy Festival pick for fans of the murder mystery genre. It’s a traditional format play, set in an English drawing room in an imprecise part of the 20th century, and feels like a delightful cross between an episode from an old detective series, a Monty Python sketch, and a game of Cluedo.
Mr Brady, a successful playwright, has been murdered in his home. The maid, who is certainly not guilty, has been arrested for the crime. Mr Brady’s family embarks on a quest to uncover the truth, with the help of their family lawyer and a private investigator. Deductions abound and shocking family secrets are revealed, threatening scandal upon Mr Brady’s widow Sadie, their son John, and John’s wife Vera. A series of completely unexpected twists and subversive surprises follow, which despite being unpredictable, results in a strong denouement, satisfactorily resolved.
Denouement is an entertaining yet relaxing experience, maintaining a strong fourth wall throughout the show, and delivering a very standard experience of non-standard content. It’s a show with a lot of old-style charm, for which it stands out among other offerings at the Comedy Festival. Among performances, Kathryn Tohill’s cynical and sarcastic portrayal of Vera, Chris Saxton’s adorable, dense portrayal of John, and Kimberley Duband’s endearing portrayal of Constable Saunders stand out the most, although Mark Woodward, Chris Tomkins and Emily Rowe also all have their moments where they shine. There are a lot of laughs to be had in this show, and each character is developed exactly as they should be to make that happen.
If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, have a taste for absurdist humour and straight-out silliness, enjoy old-style theatre presentations and want to check something out at the Comedy Festival, you can’t go wrong booking into Denouement.
Aridhi Anderson, Weekend Notes
Original article HERE

Apr 05

Sir Robert’s History of Horror: Quote


“Respected comedy veteran Bob Franklin sets a suitably spooky mood for his lecture on the history of horror, helped immeasurably by the musical accompaniment of James Hazelden and his electric upright bass.”*


Steve Bennett – Chortle

Complete Review HERE


* – It was actually an electric cello.

Apr 05

Denouement!: Review


This amusing whodunnit is set in an elegant and stately English home. This is beautifully suggested with a simple but extremely effective stage design which is inviting and evocative. All the elements of the genre are present: an amateur detective, a missing will, a bloody knife and numerous suspects. However, the characters behave in highly unexpected ways and this generates a great deal of the good-natured fun imbued in the script. The text has numerous comic gems with references to contemporary life and technology. These elements are incorporated into the setting in mischievous and frenetic ways. The characters, the set and props are often not what they seem to be, and this is part of the allure of the play.


The wry cynicism conveyed by Vera (Kathryn Tohill), the unhappy wife, sets the tone of the play and stereotypes are fully exploited. The ineptness of the naïve and clueless husband, John (Chris Saxton), triggers many laughs, alongside his possessive and hysterical mother, Sadie (Emily Rowe). The family lawyer and friend, Thomas (Mark Woodward), adds some intrigue and the bumbling detectives, Humbleby (Chris Tomkins) and Saunders (Kimberley Duband), plod their way through some complex twists and turns. Each character is played in a tongue-in-cheek manner which allows the farcical comedy to reign free. The play becomes increasingly absurd which results in a delightful and surprising unravelling of the plot.


- Patricia Di Risio, Stage Whispers

Original article HERE

Apr 05

Denouement!: Review


Beloved murder mystery comedy ‘Denouement!’ returns for another spectacular season.


Everyone loves a murder mystery.


If you’re on the hunt for a touch of true crime with your comedy, look no further. This Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there is a genuine alternative to stand-up with Denouement!.

Performed by La Mama Theatre, Denouement! takes the classic whodunnit storyline and amps it to a whole other hilarious level. The cast sold out their MICF seasons in 2016 and 2018, and now they’re back for their only MICF show for 2019.

Using black humour, physical comedy, mystery and suspense the La Mama show will transport you to the 1950s where a murder has just taken place and you’ll be at the edge of your seats asking “whodunnit?” throughout. Tickets are $20 for a concession and $30 for an adult.


- Beat.com.au

Original article is HERE

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