Lemon Lime Funtacular Occurence Hour Right On With Ryan Withers

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Very much following the loose format of last year’s newcomer-nominated show – only with added bitterness that he never actually took the title – Ryan Withers offers another shambolic hour that lurches like a one-legged unicyclist from incomprehensible nonsense to sharp absurdity.

Again there’s some suggestion this is a typical chat-show set-up, as he starts with his twisted version of the traditional topical monologue – a hit-and-miss affair but containing an especially incisive take on April Fool stories. But once that’s done, he’s carping on about his lost pet – an ibis called Shadrack – then delivering an address as the CEO of the Mrs Funberries corporation.

Amid all this theatrical madness is the suggestion that he had a real mental breakdown over the last year, brought on by the stress of not winning that newcomer gong his out-of-the-way show was probably lucky to get shortlisted for. His was not just a quiet depression, by this description, but a full-on batshit-crazy affair that might have Charlie Sheen going: ‘Hang on, mate, that’s a bit odd.’

And then we’re back to the chat show, with a desperate, hacky catchphrase-spouting comic as his first guest, a preposterous Jamaican reggae singer the next – an impression that might be considered borderline racist were it not so ridiculously funny. Kudos to his unbilled stage partner Shane Matheson for emerging from behind his cardboard screen taking on these characters – and a delightfully over-the-top musical finale – so spiritedly.

With another year’s experience, Withers has lost some of the ramshackle charm that made his 2010 such an underground hit; but the anarchic spirit remains, and there are plenty of laughs to be had here. Sometimes from a lunatic punchline, often just from bafflement at the inexplicably odd shenanigans taking place on stage. A cult is surely slowly growing here – lovers of the weird should climb aboard.

Reviewed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 2011

Review date: 9 Jan 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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