First Banana concert by “puppet phenomenon” promises to go down a treat

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), He (or should it be ‘it’) has been described as “truly unique”. As seen on Netflix, Randy Feltface has spent the past two decades winning awards and garnering critical praise while amassing a huge and devoted following across the globe.

So an audience in Belgium is in for a real treat this summer because Randy Feltface (yes, that’s the name) is bringing his “First Banana” World Tour to Europe.

The good news is that the tour includes a performance, albeit just the one, in Belgium.

Randy has written and performed a dozen solo stand-up comedy shows, released seven comedy specials, played to sold out crowds around the world and his comedy specials have become pirated YouTube sensations.

For those unfamiliar with him, Randy Feltface, mostly referred to merely as Randy or, on occasions, Randy the Purple Puppet, is an Australian puppet comedian.

He is, in fact, a felt doll which is operated by Aussie Heath McIvor, who began his career in puppetry at age 13 way back in 1993.

One of the stops on the global tour, which takes the unblinking purple puppet to several countries, is at Stadsschouwburg (city theatre) in Antwerp on 14 June.

Last year, the Australian puppet comedian made his debut in Belgium, with great success. His performance sold out in no time, so an extra show was added on the same day. This year his return to the country is keenly awaited.

Tickets for his performance, the only one in Belgium, are selling fast so people here who want to catch this unusual act are being advised to move quickly before the concert sells out.

Randy Feltface has spent some 18 years carving out a unique niche on the international comedy circuit. He was nominated for best comedy at the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, played sold out seasons in London and New York and featured several times at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. He made his US television debut as crowd favourite on NBC’s Bring The Funny, and his comedy specials have become pirated YouTube sensations.

The hilarious purple doll, who originates from Australia and has been described as a “phenomenon,” hopes to captivate a Belgian audience with his sharp humour and absurd sketches. During some of his shows, he adds the audience into his jokes, especially when he’s asking a question for them to answer. 

His live shows are remarkable for this interaction with the audience, his direct humour and, especially, his enormous energy on stage. He is recognized as one of the most original and popular figures in the contemporary comedy scene.

The show in Antwerp this summer is organised by LiveComedy.be, a leading Ghent-based event management company.

A spokesman said, “Randy Feltface has built an impressive collection of critical acclaim, awards and a devoted fan base thanks to his unique style. With dozens of shows to his name and seven comedy specials released, he was even nominated for ‘Best Comedy’ at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe.”

An important chapter in Randy’s career was his collaboration with musical comedian Sammy J, which resulted in the creation of the award-winning program ‘Ricketts Lane’ in 2010. This collaboration later evolved into a television series that aired on various platforms worldwide. Randy’s successful performance in ‘Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane’ even earned him a nomination for the AACTA Award for Best Performer in a Comedy Series, making history as the first non-human performer to receive recognition in this category.

His shows normally run from 90 minutes to two hours and, in ‘First Banana’, he discusses the downfall of humanity (with a large dose of humour, of course).

The first banana is thought to have appeared on earth some 10,000 years ago. Randy Feltface believes humanity has been in a downward spiral ever since. The only logical solution is a brand new hour of comedy from a felt-faced comedian with an axe to grind.

The show, which starts at 8pm, comes either side of two performances in Amsterdam and is his only appearance in Belgium. He also starts an extended UK tour on 26 June.

The city centre based theatre, which first opened in 1980 and can hold about 2,000 people, is a 14-minute walk from Antwerp Central train station. The nearest tram and bus stops are National Bank, Rubenslei, Stadspark and Meir. Parking for visitors with disabilities is available at the exit of the city theatre. There are four parking spaces available.

  • Tickets for ‘First Banana’ are on sale via LiveComedy.be

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.