Words by Reb Mery
Image courtesy of The Butterfly Club
Who: Nick Murphy and Ned Dixon
What: Cabaret Comedy
Where: The Butterfly Club
When: This weekend! Last show Sunday March 13
Self-described as the 'love child of Nigella Lawson and Liza Minelli (without the rehab)', Gluten Free-For-All is Nick Murphy's cabaret ode to the ups and downs and toilet-related woes of having food intolerances.
I myself have never really had to endure an allergy hamper my love of food to the extent of a coeliac, or someone with a violent allergy to an ingredient. My love of chowing down on every delicious thing in sight has never had an obstacle – and I'm free to make fun of the friends who order a plate of sides for breakfast because their 'body just isn't enjoying gluten at the moment'.
Murphy however, is an 'actual coeliac' who requires the 'actually-gluten-free' option on any given menu. Which sucks, from all accounts.
Aided by Musical Director (and diabetic) Ned Dixon, Gluten Free-For-All charts Murphy’s journey from overweight, food-loving child to food-loving youth to disheartened coeliac. It’s an enjoyable romp – occasionally haphazard, delightfully unpolished, but always buoyed by Murphy's easy onstage presence and infectious laugh.
Musical highlights include the titular 'Gluten Free-for-All', and 'Fire in the Hole' – proof that one should never underestimate the power of a good poop joke, and how wonderful the scope for describing uncontrollable burning diarrhoea can be.
Overall however, the show's most engaging moments can actually be found away from the musical interludes, in Murphy’s banter and confessional anecdotes. I also found myself wanting to see more of Ned Dixon; his quietly sassy delivery of lines like, ‘My mother was half milk’ provided a couple of the biggest laughs of the night.
Put it this way: Gluten Free-For-All is like having a drink and a rollicking catch up with a mate, if they decided to occasionally break into song and describe their poop. And it may or may not be worth noting that after the show, I wandered into a KFC without even meaning to.