Tripod member Simon Hall describes Yon and his Prism of Sexy Thoughts as “kind of like my mid-life crisis show”.
“It’s really kind of personal,” he says of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival show.
“It’s definitely a comedy but I guess it’s darker than most of what Tripod does … it’s really honest. It’s a different side of me.
“I’m performing as Yon [his Tripod character] but telling stories about myself.”
Yon and his Prism of Sexy Thoughts comprises original songs about sex, with accompaniment from Nao Anzai on keyboards and Georgia Mooney on mandolin and keyboards, interspersed with Yon talking about topics such as love, sex, shame, guilt and embarrassment.
The Cabaret Festival program notes suggest that after 20 years with the ARIA- winning musical-comedy trio Tripod, Yon “just wants to speak by himself for five freaking minutes”.
In a slightly more serious tone, Hall explains that the show “came out of an honest artistic imperative – that I’ve got these things that I want to put on the table”.
Hall/Yon certainly hasn’t abandoned his Tripod companions. In fact, he will be performing with them in a separate Adelaide Cabaret Festival performance of iconic Australian songs along with collaborator Eddie Perfect.
Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs played sold-out seasons around Australia last year, but this will be the first time it has been presented in Adelaide.
Hall says the group chose songs most people would know, but generally avoided selecting the most obvious hits – for example, Men at Work’s “Overkill” made the cut, but not the patriotic hit “Down Under”. The playlist encompasses all ages and all styles, from the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love” to Silverchair’s “Straight Lines” and Clare Bowditch’s “The One”.
“We wanted it to be eclectic,” Hall says.
“The show’s mostly a cappella, so the challenge is to make it not all sound the same … the song choice and the arrangements are the thing that make it feel varied and interesting and surprising.
“We wanted the songs to sound different to the original; to have a different feel. That brings the lyrics into relief a little more. Our version of ‘Overkill’ is more like a lullaby.”
Tripod have collaborated with Eddie Perfect on and off since 2007, when they performed a cover of Paul Kelly’s “Meet Me in the Middle of the Air”.
Hall says the star of shows such as Shane Warne the Musical and TV’s Offspring brings “a more grown-up attitude” to the group’s performances.
“He walks on stage and you just think, ‘this guy, the audience really trusts him’. We are a bit goofier … Eddie has more gravitas.”
So is Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs a more serious show than audiences might expect from the group known for its unique fusion of comedy and musical harmonies?
“We think it’s more serious – but people laugh,” Hall says.
“We sort of started out taking ourselves a little bit seriously but people laughed at us so we just went, ‘well, alright then’.
“I’m going to steadfastly say it’s not a comedy show – but our manager thinks it is.”
Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs will be performed on June 9 at the Festival Theatre, while Yon and his Prism of Sexy Thoughts is on from June 11-13 in the Adelaide Festival Centre’s ArtSpace. Both shows are part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which runs from June 6-21.
More Cabaret Festival stories:
Kathy Najimy on feminist comedy and skirt-lifting
Vandemonian Lags – convict cabaret
Cabaret line-up: Not your usual suspects
All shook up for Elvis tribute
Carla Lippis to unleash her psychedelic cowgirl
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