Perth Fringe Festival Focus: Heath Franklin

3 February 2016 | 7:44 pm | Gillian O'Meagher

After Australia’s leadership switcheroos in recent years, comedian Heath Franklin’s show Chopper’s Republic of Anzakistan (which sees his version of Chopper combine Australia and New Zealand into a new superpower, which Chopper will of course run), seems less crazy than it might have in the past.

So how does Franklin think the Kiwis are going to react to the idea of an amalgamation?

“Well, I haven’t done the show in New Zealand yet… I sense they’ll be slightly reluctant, but we’ll see when we get there.”

The show is part of this year’s Perth Fringe World festival, and one can’t help wondering if Franklin will be going method, wandering the streets of Perth as Chopper. “No, one of the good thing about being Chopper is you get to take off the moustache and glasses and be yourself again afterwards, which is kind of nice. So yeah, strictly only for a couple of hours each night.”

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He also teams up with fellow comedian, Harley Breen, for the kid’s comedy show, Captain Funpant’s Ministry of FunOmatic Funwand, another event on the Fringe schedule. “Harley and I were on tour in New Zealand together, and we’ve both got kids a similar age and we thought it would be cool to do a kids show. He already had half an idea, his character all sorted out and that kind of stuff, so as we were driving around the South Island of New Zealand we kind of nutted out the details and then it came to life and turned out to be quite costume and prop heavy, but a lot of fun.”

Grown-ups can breathe easy: the show is created with parents in mind too. “We’re both adults, so we know what it’s like to sit through kids entertainment that’s just devoid of anything for the adults. So we’ve made sure that it’s at least as interesting for the adults as it is for the kids.”

The next few months include a long run of festivals around Australia and overseas for Franklin. “Yeah, I sort of tour the show around, well the Chopper show and Funpants, pretty much until the end of May. After that I’ll probably take a month off and just lie in bed and have pizza delivered to my window, and then figure out something for July after that.”

When asked if overseas audiences are different to Australian crowds, Franklin says he’s realised as soon as you expect or stereotype an audience, they’ll prove you wrong. “I think part of it is not even about the city or the town or whatever, or to a certain extent the country, it’s just about what bunch of people turns up on what night.”

Chopper’s Republic Of Anzakistan is part of Perth’s Fringe World Festival and runs until February 4 at Teatro (The Pleasure Gardens) and February 7 at MPAC Boardwalk Theatre.

Captain Funpants Mystery Of FunOmatic Funwand is part of Perth’s Fringe World Festival. Catch it on February 6-7 at Circus Theatre.

Originally published in X-Press Magazine