Lounge Room Confabulators perform 2011 Fringe show in your home
- Jonny Ensall
- 20 July 2011
This article is from 2011.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe duo bring their cabaret show to your house
Lounge Room Confabulators have hit on a wonderful idea in performing their show only in punters’ homes. List editor Jonny Ensall invites them to appraise his flat as a performance space
Not much that exciting has happened in my lounge. The odd party, the occasional game of Scrabble – not until now had I considered using it as performance space for a two-man cabaret show. Yet Stuart Bowden, the extremely affable young Australian who is this morning assessing the possibilities of doing just that, seems to think it would be a bloody brilliant idea.
‘I love this fireplace,’ he coos, waving at my mantle. ‘Most people’s lounge rooms are angled towards the TV, but it’s nice to have that fireplace, to sip port in front of.’ ‘Even if there’s no fire in it?’ I ask. ‘Sure,’ he encourages. ‘We can light a candle or something.’
Bowden is one half of Lounge Room Confabulators, an Australian double act who’ve hit upon the novel idea of only performing their show in local living rooms. As the Fringe programme states, their venue is ‘Your Lounge, Where You Live’. Anyone can book them to play for an hour at either 6 or 9pm, with all audience members (minimum of 10) paying a ticket price. From a financial point of view, it’s genius as there’s a guaranteed audience for every show, and no overheads apart from the cost of transporting Bowden, his co-star Will Greenway, a ukulele, a guitar and a rug to the venue.
The idea was ‘borne out of laziness,’ Bowden admits, ‘but we realised the potential of it.’ It does appeal. Having a modern-day troubadour play my living room feels more wholesome than watching a massive telly comic in a souped-up student union, and the show, Bowden assures me, is an especially intimate theatre experience. ‘We get the host to dim the lights to a spooky/sexy level,’ he describes, assuming a crouching position in front of the fire to meet my eye-level. He fills me in on the premise: Lounge Room Confabulators are a cursed theatre troupe, destined to voyage around different homes telling stories that start out magical and end up ‘a little bit shit … Always, one of us messes up the ending. It’s just ruined and the atmosphere is broken.’ Up until this moment of dramatic bathos there are songs, some humour, what Bowden describes as a ‘sexy love scene’ and a nasty episode involving an ice cream scoop and a lost eye (mimed, thankfully).
My lounge room has passed muster, and we start to talk about dates for a performance. I was worried that it would be a little small, but I’m told he’s played much cosier gigs, including one in a room half this size to just two audience members. That wasn’t his most memorable performance however: ‘We did a 21st birthday show to a large group of women. They were all drinking their pre-mixed spirits, and then we came in … I think they would have been very, very happy, if we’d been strippers. We just had to play up to all the humourous and funny stuff.’
There are no future plans for a lounge room striptease, though if the model takes off there could be comedians, cabarets and burlesques colonising lounges, kitchens and cupboards the city over. What’s next, I ask Bowden, a toilet show? He likes the idea. ‘Maybe that’s the sequel? A show where we perform to one person with their pants down!’
Lounge Room Confabulators, Your Lounge, Where You Live, 0844 545 8252, 6–29 Aug, 6pm & 9pm, £12–£14. Previews 3–5 Aug, 6pm & 9pm, £10.