Hugs achieved: x2
“I had my arm inside a small panda yesterday… and then I got this umbrella, and I filled it with poison and left it at a bus stop”, whispers Barnie Duncan into the microphone, as I walk away to collect our coffees. This is my introduction to Barnie and Dani Cabs, two charismatic and cheeky performers who have great chemistry with one another. After meeting two years ago, it took Dani pitching the idea of doing a “full hour show” together, which then through some hard work and collaboration became their 2017 MICF show ‘Weekend at Barnie’s’.
“We’ve taken what we think is a really quintessential, perfect 80s Hollywood comedy movie… and quite referentially tried to recreate it in a new setting… it’s a good sequel”, says Barnie. While taking some reference points from the film, Barnie notes they have been respectful with it. “People worry about sequels” he jests, “don’t do an improv musical version of Game of Thrones”. “We do a nice, loving homage” of the film.
Without spoiling too much of the show, Barnie describes the premise as essentially “what happens when a young enthusiastic but naïve comedian”, “good looking” interjects Dani; “enthusiastic, good looking, naïve comedian” continues Barnie, “robust… fit…” interjects Dani again. “You’re not that fit” says Barnie, who continues that the naïve comedian of the show “tries to carry a comedy show that he’s putting on with his idol but his idol turns out to be dead”. Two timelines provide the back-story and context of “how we got there, why we’re there”, says Dani. “It’s not 110% slapstick… it’s mostly slapstick… but there is dialogue”.
Dani lauds the experience of performing alongside Barnie, “doing this show with Barnie has been great… because up until now I’ve only done two solo shows… just being me”. Dani speaks of his solo MICF show ‘Poncho Orange’. “Poncho is like my alter ego”, says Dani. “He’s this Latino lover, buffoon that comes out and just wants to… seduce but also play, in a very child like fashion with everyone he sees… he just wants to have fun”. He describes how much he enjoys “character comedy, and figuring it all out” but he speaks of particular fondness of Poncho. “It’s all about love, happiness and play… stupid and silly”, noting there is “something in it for everyone”.
Barnie’s other MICF show ‘Different Party’ doesn’t feature Dani, but instead has the talented “two metre tall” Trygve Wakenshaw. Barnie describes ‘Different Party’ as “very experimental” and possibly the “weirdest thing I’ve ever made”. He also describes the experience of falling off of Trygve, “I felt like I was in the air for so long”. While Barnie is hesitant to talk up the show too much, Dani chimes in with praise for both the performers and their chemistry. “They’re both masters in their own right”, “these guys have been working together for a long time” and the show is them “being on the same level”, says Dani.
Considering their matching moustaches, their similar dancing styles and even their same level of personal hygiene (a very important element in close proximity physical comedy), Barnie and Dani have taken quite different paths to comedy. “I’ve only been in this game… of live performance for about two and a half years” says Dani, who came from “a photographic art background”. “I got into the game a lot earlier than Dani”, says Barnie, “I’ve been performing most of my adult life”. Barnie discusses his TV and film work back in New Zealand and the theatre company he started with Trygve Wakenshaw, “we made our own shit, directed it… learnt how to do every aspect of doing shows”. “It’s only been the last maybe six years that I’ve concentrated on comedy… I really like character comedy… figuring out a character, then figuring out how they move, how they talk, what’s their politics… what is their dress sense... I really love going into that world”.
“The thing you get hooked on is the alchemy, of when you get the chemistry right, the timing right, you read the crowd right for that night… you know how to deliver it… so people explode… I love the intangible weird chemistry… it’s a combination of so many things”, continues Barnie. Dani adds “you get up on stage and you make something… people laugh, and smile, and the end of it… you can feel this elation in the room... everyone’s spirits are lifted... you know you have done something good”.
Barnie Duncan and Dani Cabs are two passionate performers who have brought a range of shows to the MICF. Particularly for punters who enjoy physical comedy, there is sure to be a show featuring one of these affable guys you will enjoy.
- Check out Barnie Duncan and Dani Cabs in a ‘Weekend at Barnie’s’ from 13 to 18 & 20 to 23 April. For tickets, click here.
- If you’re in the mood for the solo Dani Cabs experience, you can see him in ‘Poncho Orange’ from 13 to 18 & 20 to 23 April. For tickets, click here.
- Do you like Barnie Duncan but want him paired with the talented two metre delight Trygve Wakenshaw, then see them in ‘Different Party’ from 11 to 23 April. For more information and to book tickets, click here.
If you have a Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) show you want reviewed or you want to sit down for a chat/interview about it, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.