Chasing the Lollyman – Premier Season, Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, Brisbane. Jan–Feb 2010. Review by Baz McAlister, Time Off, Issue 1461, Wednesday 3 February 2010.

Chasing the Lollyman

Brisbane-based performer Mark Sheppard and debase productions have put together a show which really does have the feel of a big family gathering. An affable and winning actor, Sheppard’s picaresque offering is as original as it is Aboriginal, taking a light-hearted but surprisingly deep and personal look at Murri culture within a sketch framework, drawing on his own childhood in Mareeba among the Muluridgi mob.

Josh McIntosh is on set design duty here and as ever, he doesn’t fail to impress. Sheppard’s whirlwind of energy unfolds against a beautiful and mysterious backdrop of five pillars festooned with doors which hide … well, some pretty deadly props as it happens, but that’s all I’m saying. These unassuming little doors are the source of many gags, as well as providing the transitions that drive the show.

Sheppard’s a remarkably open performer, as comfortable with gags as he is with clowning, visual humour, self-deprecation, and riffing on his own Indigenous culture. One particularly hilarious segment has him portraying an Aboriginal Linguistics professor attempting to introduce the audience to a little bit of Murri lingo, and it goes down an absolute treat (with some audience participation). It’s difficult to think of a show that’s been filled with more fun and joie de vivre gracing Brisbane stages recently, and if you’re in desperate need of a really good belly-laugh, this will just about do it. If you’ve got namalah on tonight, get your mue along to see this.

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