BEN COUSINS a rock opera
2010 Melbourne Comedy Festival Reviews
"This is a show not to be missed by AFL lovers and critics alike" X & Y Magazine
"It’s a no-brainer. Go watch it" - Groggy Squirrel
An up-to-date, near-the-knuckle and no-holds-barred pop-parody musical in two acts, devised, performed and directed by critically acclaimed football satirist Kieran Butler (Collingwood ruined my Life, **** The Scotsman).
"A very enjoyable and hilarious journey for any AFL fan... an epic adventure... very entertaining... intelligent... truthful... If you want to see witty one liners and sharp satire, 'Ben Cousins - a rock opera' is a must" - Buzz Cuts, 3RRR (Melbourne)
The narrative is based on the crucifixion, resurrection and redemption of Ben Cousins after his admission that he suffered from drug addiction. The show is a biting satire of society and the media - viewed through the prism of the AFL.
"Promises to be this year's most controversial musical" - Sunday Times
Cousins is cast as an anti-hero who prevails on account of his good looks, naivety and unquenchable appetite for a rollicking good time – to a thumping soundtrack of 70’s and 80’ pop song parodies – featuring live guitar and violin. Having returned to the AFL, Cousins embarks on a career in radio, writes for a newspaper, makes a movie and even releases a rock’n’roll single.
"Brilliantly scripted and performed... almost obscene value for money" Greg Potter, The Age online
The show features Matt Walsh (Ben Cousins, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nathan Buckley), Michelle Wilson (Jelena Dokic, Caroline Wilson, Violin) and Sean Burke (Mick Malthouse).
In a whirlwind performance – reminiscent of his role in the critically acclaimed Edinburgh show Che Guevara on the Fringe (**** The Scotsman) – Butler holds down roles as the narrator, movie producer, Ned Kelly, Damir Dokic, Andrew Demitriou and Eddie McGuire.
"Best footy comedy orientated show I have seen in ages" - Cam Holmes, Facebook
In it’s original incarnation as part of Butler’s 2009 MICF outing ‘Collingwood Club Therapist’ the show was a complete sell out. A brand new second act was added for the 2009 Melbourne Fringe season and featured 'Ben Cousins’ debut single ‘Flyin High’ – courtesy of independent Perth band ‘Gasoline inc’.
If you have been worried that anarchic and uncompromising Australian satire was on life support, then ‘Ben Cousins – a rock opera’ should reassure you that it is still breathing sporadically.
“Great one-liners, funny songs” – Fence Banger
“The show was a scream” - The Phantom
The show has already traveled to Sydney and Adelaide, as well as gaining comprehensive press coverage - from as far a field as Ben's old hometown, Perth. In 2010 the show has been re-tooled and updated and will perform a three week season at the La Mama Courthouse for the MICF, before travelling to Perth for the Wild West Comedy Festival in May.
It will have taken over three whole months, but on March 17 critically acclaimed football satirist, Kieran Butler (**** The Scotsman), will finally respond to the comprehensive attack launched on him by Eddie McGuire - with his pop-parody musical in two acts: ‘Ben Cousins – a rock opera’.
In December 2009 McGuire fired a public broadside at Butler after he was taken to task by the comedian at the Collingwood AGM. McGuire labelled Butler “a pseudo Stephen Mayne in the football world” and alleged that any questions Butler had posed were nothing more than a publicity stunt for a show that McGuire went on to incorrectly name – that had not been performed anywhere in Australia since 2008.
‘Ben Cousins – a rock opera’ is a robust satire of the Australian media - viewed through the prism of the AFL. As a major protagonist in the saga of Ben Cousins’ return to the AFL, McGuire is satirised as a “power-drunk, Machiavellian bully” according to writer, director and performer Butler.
“Although he shouldn’t feel in any way singled out. We satire Andrew Bolt as an apologist for Australia’s racism, Andrew Demetriou as a Scorcese-style wise guy, Sam Newman as a bone-headed misogynist, and Damir Dokic as himself. We even have a few light-hearted digs at Ned Kelly, and Mick Malthouse’s obsession with military history.”
When Ben met Ned...
June, 2009 - Ben Cousins (Matt Walsh) sought advice from his mentor Ned Kelly – the famous bushranger whose last words now adorn the footballer’s torso - in Glenrowan yesterday.
Cousins would no doubt have
confided in Kelly that he was charged with being in possession of caster
sugar at an undisclosed location whilst he traveled back through Victoria
after performing ‘Ben Cousins – a rock opera’ in NSW over the weekend.
It is believed that the caster sugar in question was, in fact, a prop used
as part of the show.