Featured Podcast: Why Are You Here? with Dr Karen Debbie Cradle PhD

Dr Karen Debbie Cradle PhD is back with another season of compassionate, selfless and professional counselling. Taking lockdown in her stride, this time it’s her turn to be on the couch as she works home performing one-on-one consultations online. Join Karen and a slew of celebrities* on a spiritual journey that is sure to have Dr Phil and Esther Perel shaking in their boots.

*improv comedians

Season 3 cover art by Elyce Phillips.

Dr Karen Debbie Cradle Phd certainly has a way with people – just ask anyone who’s seen her. So come on, strap yourself in for Why Are You Here? the improv comedy podcast that gives you front row seats to the world of therapy as Dr Karen attempts to initiate positive change in the lives of her clients that, as she says, obviously need her help.

Why Are You Here? is carefully structured so that you can easily drop in for an episode here and there, but if you invest a little time in listening to every episode, you will discover the overarching story.

This story centres on a woman grappling with the dichotomy of presenting herself as relevant and in control in her professional life while struggling to deal with the chaos of her personal life.

Each episode is a fly-on-the-wall view of Karen at work in one of her sessions. Things generally go from bad to worse as she becomes embroiled in the lives of her clients.

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Season 1 cover art by Elyce Phillips.

In its first season, Why Are You Here? sees a handful of performers, some of which will be familiar to The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe fans, playing couples in need of counselling.

We’re also introduced to the character of Pescel Mirvington PhD, Karen’s personal therapist, PhD supervisor and guide-mother, skilfully performed by Jacob Sacher, who doesn’t hold back from giving Karen a taste of her own medicine.

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Season 2 cover art by Elyce Phillips.

The second season picks up some time after the first. Meanwhile, Karen has relocated to the United States so that she might take her career to new heights through the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. As the story progresses, we learn that perhaps not all of Karen’s appointments have been agreed upon by all parties as Karen inserts herself into the lives of Hollywood’s elite to help them with their problems.

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Season three sees Karen continue her quest of speaking to the stars, and she’s not going to let a little thing like a global pandemic get in her way.

Dr Karen Debbie Cradle is an ingeniously flawed character that sits somewhere on a scale between Julia Davis’ Jill Tyrrell (Nighty Night) and Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge. With a wonderful balance of wit, devious opportunism and social ineptitude, she’s at her funniest on the defensive. Who knows, perhaps her Hollywood odyssey may just see Karen reach her goal of becoming a household name.

All of Karen’s guests are brought to life by a selection of Melbourne’s finest improvisers. So far, season three features: Hayley Tantau, Solange Foley-Dawson and Lukas Quinn with more to follow in the coming weeks.

Season two features: Eloise Antonie, Scout Boxall, James Collopy, Pedro Cooray, Jeremy Hughes and Cristina Spizzica (RHYMEZONE), Indiana Kiely and Simon Hawkings (Liz Comedy), Daniel Moore, Brendan Wan, Matt Young and Barney Pollock (Cool & Smart).

Season one features: Prue Blake, Ange Chan, Tom Fahey, Taylor Griffiths, Hill Kuttner, Jayden Masciulli, Jacob Sacher, Stefan Sgarioto, Nikki Spunde, Becky Swannick, and Jenni Townsend!

The third season takes a slightly different approach with longer two-part episodes and I’m very much looking forward to finding out where Karen’s adventures take her in this ongoing story.

Find all the episodes here or wherever you find your podcasts.

The second and third seasons were edited by Mog at the Potato Revolution studio.

Featured Podcast: In Your Dreams

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Gavin and Hugh McLean are brothers. But above all else, they’re friends. And above all that again, they’re sleep specialists.

Together they are the designers of the revolutionary McLean Dream Machine©, a device that allows a person to experience their dreams more vividly than ever and have them recorded for future observation.

Creator/performers Jayden Masciulli and Daniel Moore have struck gold with the premise and execution of their eight-episode (so far) podcast. I can’t get enough of improv when performers are encouraged to push their imagination into the weird and whimsical, and this little show is the perfect vehicle for this to happen.

Each episode follows a simple formula by beginning with an informal pre-show chat between Jayden, Daniel and their guests of the week. Following this, the meat of the show kicks off with the McLean brothers characters in their shop being visited by a customer who’s turned up to experience the McLean Dream Machine©. As soon as the client is ushered into the machine, we get to experience their dreams.

The sense of freedom with this stream-of-consciousness approach for the performers is palpable, and a perfect fit to the improv comedy style on display. The ideas, locations, and even characters fluctuate over the course of the episode until the dream ends and the character wakes up. It gets a little crazy at times, but it’s never a bad thing when it does.

Additionally, the inspired sound design that includes effects and audio tricks never overshadows the performances and succeeds in contributing to an immersive experience for the listener.

I’d like to take a moment to add a special shout-out to whoever is responsible for the falsetto in the opening theme. Brilliant stuff!

You may also recognise a voice or two on the huge guest roster that includes:
Aisling McGrogan, Alice Allan, Doug Lyons, Elyce Phillips, Fiannah de Rue, Hayley Tantau, Indiana Kiely, Josh Chodziesner, Lewis Mulholland, Matt Jenner, Millie Holten, Ryan Zorzut, Shane Henry, Simon Hawkings, Simon McCulloch, and Taylor Griffiths.

Both Daniel and Jayden are established writers and performers. Jayden hit my radar as one third of his award-nominated comedy group Hit By A Blimp (tickets for their new show WARP are selling fast!) and I discovered Daniel Moore and this very podcast through his on-point portrayal of the greatest showman that is Hew Jakkman in the second season of Why Are You here? With Dr Karen Debbie Cradle PhD.

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Hit By A Blimp – WARP

Already a fan of The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe and Space Junk? You’re going to love In Your Dreams.

Featured Event: Liz presents You’re Making A Scene

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Have you ever posted a video of a stranger in a public space because their actions struck you as strange or significant? How many times have you witnessed an unusual scene in your daily life only to then tell this story over and over again to your friends? When does someone else’s experience become our own?

Indiana Kiely and Simon Hawkings are no strangers to improvised comedy and, like me, you’ll be pleased to know that the duo have joined forces to perform their own brand of absurdist, observational and character-based comedy as Liz in their very own show You’re Making A Scene for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2020.

‘Nothing short of a delight.’ – PopCulture-y

You may recognise Indiana as the voice of Katherine Wilder from our little podcast The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe. As for Simon, well, he may not officially be one of the Quest Inn crew, but he does hold the trophy for being our most frequent returning guest. 

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My introduction to the dynamic performing prowess of the pair was way back when we recorded A Professional Moment from the podcast’s first season. It was this episode that Simon debuted the character of Katherine’s on again/off again love interest Cedric the dwarf and it was the chemistry they shared that had me hooked. It was also this chemistry that injected a sense of pathos and elevated the character relationship from a side-story into an integral arc of the first season. Simon also returned for a second season episode as King Bleedon in We Are One Unit.

Outside of the #QuestInnPodcast, I’ve worked with both Simon and Indiana on a variety of projects including Simon’s debut solo sketch show Kiwifruit: An Autobiography and the podcast Why Are You Here? With Karen Debbie Cradle PhD, and I can honestly say that every single time I’m both inspired and delighted by the quality of their work.

It was a pleasant surprise when earlier this year Liz gave us some short sketch videos in the lead-up to announcing You’re Making A Scene.

You’re Making A Scene commences from the moment the audience begins to line up and takes full flight once everyone is seated. Two audience members will make themselves known to you — mourners, long lost high school friends, rival theatre critics, parents of the performer — people whose private lives spill into the public domain.

Sound like your cup of tea? Tickets are available now, so get them while you still can!

And if that’s not enough, this hard-working team have put together a podcast to complement the show. Three episodes in (with more still to come), each week delivers another pair of characters to enjoy.

Raising Celebrity ChildrenIn Dennis and Marie’s Interstate Adventures – Melbourne Edition the familial hosts from Ipswich recap a recent trip to Melbourne to visit their son, Richie.

Are you Serious is all style with fashionistas Brendan and Heather.

Raising Celebrity Children features Hollywood royalty from yesteryear Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton discussing the pitfalls of long-haired children.

And yes, there’s more to come, so get on and subscribe where you can and if you’re in Melbourne for the festival, get along to the show!

WAYH_cover(Note: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton also appear in two time-bending Why Are You Here? episodes – and I can’t recommend these enough!)

 

 

Find more Liz on Facebook and Instagram. Get tickets for Liz presents You’re Making a Scene. Discover the podcast.

Upcoming show – Hey Femmily! It’s me, Tomp Canks!

Event Plug – Hey Femmily! It’s Me Tomp Canks!

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Had a listen to our Spudcast episode and now you’re looking to see some improv in real life? This Saturday is your last chance to see Beau Windon perform in Melbourne before he heads to the US for a few months.

Get along to the show and see two teams, Femmily and Tomp Canks, join forces to deliver an hour of what promises to be some great improv comedy.


What: Hey Femmily! It’s me, Tomp Canks!

Where: The Improv Conspiracy Theatre: Level 1 / 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne

When: Saturday, June 3rd @ 9:30pm

How much: $5


Get your tickets here!