Vince Chadwick writes…

There is no denying that there is something intrinsically funny about the keytar. The Keytar Kid aka Mr Brady aka John Nelder plays on its phallic elements at one point, which might be a bit of a stretch – but see, there you go!

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An absolute artefact of the 1980s, the two different models on show here make fitting accomplices as everything slides so far into cheese that you feel as if your feet are sticking to the floor. No quarter is asked or given from Elder, who revels in delivering songs on twentysomething topics laid over with late baby-boomer sensibilities – look up Nelder’s favourite band, 10cc, at your peril. The mesh up here is part of the joy.

Sadly there are only so many times the audience can laugh as Nelder pulls a ‘ho hum’ kind of face while the preset drum machine taps out another kitsch anacrusis. The smoothest bass line and cutest keytar tinkering can’t obscure the fact that these songs are underdone. There is no overarching narrative, and within each song the best lines are blown early on, leaving four minutes of mellifluous repetition. David O’Doherty it ain’t.

Go along though, partly to discover a great new venue. This is the first show ever held at KaDO, the start of something new for owner Matthew Grant – creator of the Butterfly Club – who recently returned from Malaysia. 100m from Richmond station this little live-in performance space reflects all the best things about Melbourne.

John Nelder in The Keytar Kid plays Thurs – Sat, 8pm at KaDo as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.


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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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