David Black reviews “Live from St Kilda with Ben Murphy”
This week, I went to the filming of “Live from St Kilda with Ben Murphy”. The production is a variety show packed with interviews, sketches, fun segments and quizzes. Ben had offered me free VIP tickets so I went with Grace Liu and we had a fantastic time.
The program is hosted at The Alex Theatre in St Kilda, which will be familiar to many in the Melbourne Indie film scene. I’ve been to so many events there that it feels like a second home. The description on their facebook page is “The Alex Theatre project in St Kilda is one of passion for the Arts. Developed by Aleksandar Vass OAM as a compact boutique performance hub in Melbourne to showcase the creative innovation within the arts sector.”
The last time I was part of a studio audience was for “The Comedy Company” way back in 1990. That show was one of Australia’s biggest and well-funded. It was amazing to see that Ben’s show was right on par with this one because his crew is all volunteer. The program itself is made for Community TV and is shown on Melbourne’s Ch 31and Adelaide’s Ch 44, yet is right up there in quality with the international shows.
The amazing crew hard at work
There’s a virtual army of something like 20 – 30 volunteers. I’ve been on many indie sets and can only say that this team is highly professional and their dedication is to be admired. They are a cut above the rest.
Grace and I embraced our roles as volunteer extras. We didn’t really have to follow the prompts to clap and cheer because we were having such a good time that we did that anyway. The guests were as good as you would get on the commercial TV stations.
We saw Tim Wheatley (son on Glenn and an incredible musician) who chatted about his father’s legacy and being a new dad. Tim is an established singer/ songwriter and sang the night out with "Shiny Tacoma" to enthusiastic applause. I believe the song will be officially released this Friday.
Other guests included the comedians Jarryd Goundrey and Anthony Locasio. Both were excellent. They were in town to do shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and we were lucky to get a small taste of their best material. The last guest of the night was Alan Fletcher, who plays Dr Karl Kennedy on Neighbours. The night was non-stop fun and I can’t wait to watch it all again on TV.
Ben’s show originally started out as Zoom interviews with his celebrity friends for some fun during lockdown. This quickly led Ben to creating a show that had that old fashioned variety show feel - a show featuring skits, comedy, games, music, interviews and variety performances.
He wanted a show where the whole family could sit around the TV - bonding and laughing like they did in the 90s (his childhood era) - and in particular, wanted to showcase amazing variety acts and entertainers which he felt was not available outside from competition tv shows.
Grace Liu, waiting to be called in to watch the show
Grace and I had such a good time that I can only say that Ben has succeeded. For those that would like more information, you can visit the webpage here - https://www.livefromstkilda.com/