People sometimes wonder why it is that a fellow like me, with all the prospects available to a young man with a spring in his step and a song in his heart, would subject themselves to night after night of theatre openings in tiny, under-ventilated venues with butt-numbing seats and tonsil-rattling soundsystems. It’s a calling I guess. Or perhaps it’s something else. Yes, who are we kidding. It’s something else.
Probably the catering.
And so it was with fists clenched and a heart dropping below sea-level that I realised last night was the passing of the Pinnacle. North Fitzroy’s Pinnacle used to play host to openings of shows playing across the road at The Store Room, and owner Jan’s culinary skills would knock the fillings out of this hack’s spit faucet. You had ricotta stuffed mushrooms, vegie spring rolls, all kinds of dips and chips and pies and cheeses and olives and wine and beer and happy faces red-cheeked from smiling like ice-creamed fuelled infants and not caring about it at all. Looking a bit like this:
Last night I left the theatre to see those memories receding fast like the abandoned child in the rear-view mirror.
It looks like openings will be held in the newly renovated bar at The Store Room. And ok, ok, that has its good points. Boosting the profile of the venue, etc. But I can’t say I didn’t hug my pillow in the cold blue darkness last night and shed bitter, bitter tears. (Can’t say I did, either. That was just a joke. As was the “fillings being knocked from my spit faucet.” I have no fillings).
The show in question was The UFO Show, and it was surprisingly good. I mean, not surprisingly in that the folks behind it (Uncle Semolina & Friends) generally get outstanding reviews. But, you know, UFOs and stuff…how much material can you get out of that? A lot, apparently. Fast paced, dozens of characters and shifts in scene, lots happening at once, and very funny. All big ticks in the boxes there. The company is also committed to doing interesting things with the playing space, so last night the whole theatre was rearranged (I won’t say how) and the audience was limited to about 20.
Downside: 20 people at an opening night party doesn’t make for swinging from chandeliers and spilling drinks everywhere and running up the wall to do a backflip. So I had to wait until I got home to do all that stuff.
The Store Room’s InStorage seasons this year have been really super-strong, so good on ‘em. Catering after the show was limited to wedges (with herbs and dips and stuff) and a tab at the bar. Which I guess is good for a little venue with an audience of 20 or less. The wedges were pretty impressive, I’ll admit, but it’s no Pinnacle. Is this enough to break my Opening Night Attendee passport status (we have a union and all)? Could this be the end?
Now, I ain’t saying I’m the best judge of stuff. I should probably have stuck to scribbling my name in the style of the AC/DC logo in the margins of my high school textbooks and left the writing career at that. But I didn’t. And while my chief reviewing talents may well be the sonorous clap I have perfected (which can actually sound like several people clapping at my discretion), I do feel justified in saying this: as long as there is something, even wedges, on offer: I will be there for you. And for me.