Negative Energy Inc – Midsumma 2012

Being a white boy from Brighton is so damn hard that it’s left Ash Flanders in a foul mood for 30-odd years. Like me, Ash generally hates things and people and is only happy when he’s sharing the pain with a rant and an obscure show tune. Negative 

Energy Inc is the stand up story of why he draws his mandala in black and it rightly left the opening night crowd stomping and cheering.

Negative Energy Inc started when Ash’s boyfriend Daniel told him about The Secret. That’s not some Midsumma-boy thing; I mean that book rich white women (and Oprah) love that’s all about vision boards and controlling your life with a few nice thoughts. I hated it from the time a yoga teacher got into it and said that the only thing stopping me from holding standing bow for ever was my thoughts. She didn’t put on 30 kg and grow a scabby trunk from her third eye, so I guess my thoughts still aren’t good enough.

Ash’s hate of The Secret made him think hard about why his acting career wasn’t perfect – despite the love of every critic – and why he wasn’t doing sold-out, critically acclaimed shows in festivals…
Shut up … There’s no way that’s The Secret in action. Surely it would have happened if he hadn’t thought about it.

The first season of Negative Energy Inc did sell out, I raved and his performance as the Horse Woman from Judge Judy became legend.

As Theatre Works insisted that it come to Midsumma, Stephen Nicolazzo came on board as director and helped shape the story to bring out its darker nature and bravely camp up accompanist Dave Barclay.

Ash creates an stab-in-the-heart antidote to harmlessly dull theatre as this laugh cos-it-hurts-to-cry show tickles your brain ’til you’re squealing and makes you want to share a bunk with him at Christian camp.

Ash is also very sensible (there’s your quotable) and performing only on Sundays and Mondays; those nights when other shows (and theatre restaurants) have nights off, leaving us stuck with telly or thinking about going to the tennis – so there’s no reason not to get yourself to St Kilda and dose up on his misery.

More of Anne-Marie’s writing is at


Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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