Kent Valentine: A Fistful Of Rainbows
Show type: Melbourne 2008
An epic adventure about change and diffracting light that spans the globe and features napalm, witches and vikings. It’s more ‘dark side of the moon’ than ‘rainbow connection’. Two hemispheres, two languages, too many jokes (for this blurb).
Kent Valentine is a hugely endearing presence, a natural raconteur with winning stories full of mischief, optimism and warmth. He is so effortlessly charming and likeable, that he could be the next Adam Hills.
This festival show, his third, comprises just two extended tales, and its proof of his superior storytelling skills that he can hold the audience for so long – and make them laugh while he’s at it.
The first is a childhood yarn of secretly making ‘napalm’ in his parent’s basement, goaded on by an equally irresponsible chum. This is probably the only stand-up show to give you the formula for such a deadly explosive – but even the most dedicated Al Qaeda operative would think twice after hearing Valetine’s cautionary tale. It probably goes without saying that the dangerous experiment goes horribly awry, and his retelling of the potentially fatal drama is faultless.
The second story, also from his youth, concerns an exchange visit to the ancient Danish town of Roskilde, and his terrifying encounter with a trio of creepy elderly Viking enthusiasts, widely presumed to be paedophiles, one bleak, dark night. But there’s a touching humanity – and even an uplifting moral – to the story as it unfolds in surprising directions.
Both yarns are spun with a lively, cheerful spirit, as if he’s telling them for the first time, but constructed with such expert ebbs and flows of drama, not to mention a sharp wit, that comes only from hard-learned experience.
Like all the best comedy, the real enjoyment comes from caring about what happens next in the story much more than it does from carefully scripted one-liners. After the show, you probably won’t remember exactly where you laughed or why, but you surely will recall the uplifting, and thoroughly absorbing, tales so gracefully told for a long time yet.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett