Laughapoolooza [Adelaide 07]

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

With music so often used to disguise a variety of comedy sins, Laughapalooza offers a showcase for those musical acts who aim higher than most.

Host Tim Minchin sets the bar almost unachievably high, from the title song of his latest show, So Rock, to the anthemic showstopper, Take Your Canvas Bags To The Supermarket.

As MC, though, he also gets a rare chance for improvised audience banter, successfully and wittily taking on a rambunctious hens’ party and a girl sneaking out to make a phone call. He’s more than a pretty tune…

First guest in this circus tent was Beau Heartbreaker, the gravel-voiced country-singer creation of Selina Jenkins. With plaid shirt and stuck-on facial hair, she sounds utterly convincing. In fact, the songs from Hicksville, USA, are so authentic, it’s almost irrelevant whether they are funny or not.

In fact. The comedy is relatively subtle, and the act is more about appreciating the music – and the impressive ‘mouth trumpet’ impression, a la Earl Okin.

Tom Gleeson followed, doing straight stand-up. Or at least that was the plan. On discovering the effects pedal on stage, he spent his set messing about with the reverb. Although he was probably enjoying it more than the audience, this was still great fun all round.

Next up, The Man With The Dominant Claw, one of the more cultish hits of the festival. A man with a giant lobster claw in place of his lower right arm attempts to play the keyboard. Then, to a backing tape, he sings an impressive showtune about his biological plight; then a couple of lyric-swapped cover versions, most notably a clever and quirky paen to ex-planet Pluto.

Sammy J was the final act; a smiling, fast-talking comic oozing showbiz glitter and insincere bonhomie. Though he had the presence, he didn’t really have the material, and his set was the most pedestrian of the night, culminating a song about fingering. How shocking! Yawn…

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Adelaide, March 2007

Review date: 31 Mar 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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