Michael Williams: Our Princess Is In Another Castle

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Michael Williams is so fixated on video games, he even spends most of this geekfest of a show staring at a TV screen.

Basically, he’s made a game of his life’s adventure so far, trying to get through the various levels towards adulthood, such as leaving home, getting a job, and finding a girlfriend. But this is a comedy festival budget, so the graphics are definitely more SNES than GTA IV. If that looks like a random jumble of letters, it’s fair to say Our Princess Is In Another Castle is not for you.

The eight-bit alter ego is a neat attempt at elevating the flimsy and familiar ethos of the show into something different. The festival is, after all, full of arrested development 28-year-olds with a string of dead-end jobs and little other experience to their name, but few have their own stiltedly animated icon.

But the device is overplayed, and can’t sustain a whole hour. It’s a ‘paralysis by PowerPoint’ scenario, when you spend the hour gazing at a screen rather than the live comedian – and cricking your neck to do so if you’re in anything but the front couple of rows of this tiny venue.

He’s got a few enjoyable gags about the ridiculous parallel universes within games – that Mario can stand on a bullet, for example – and the man loves a nice pun. He scores high points for the gentle, nerdy, self-effacing likeability; fewer for hearty belly laughs and powerhouse performance.

His enthusiasm for his sometimes all-consuming hobby is nicely conveyed to the audience, and cosy nostalgia’s always a winning formula. The result is a gentle diversion, rather than a real game-changer.

Reviewed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 2011

Review date: 9 Jan 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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