Jon Pointing: Act Natural | Review by Paul Fleckney
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Jon Pointing: Act Natural

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Paul Fleckney

Jon Pointing is making the best of a bad situation. Bad room, bad time, and some audience members more interested in having a conversation than anything else. Aside from admiring Pointing’s patience and professionalism in soldiering on, there’s no mistaking the talent he has.

Maybe this is the character comedy version of 'reading out the phone book'. If you can make us laugh at 10.45pm round the back of Southsider with some chatters in the crowd, you’ve got it.

And Pointing has it. As one half of sketch duo Bucket last year, his movement and characterisation was obviously very, very good. Now he’s solo and he completely commands the stage, while landing several laugh-out-loud moments too.

The show is a take-off of an acting workshop – possibly the single most unoriginal idea you could find at the Fringe – but Pointing absolutely nails his subject, Kayden. The pomposity, the pretentiousness, the creepiness, the pseudo-philosophical bullshit – it’s all keenly observed and impeccably performed.

To Kayden, a chair is not just a chair, and a walk is not just a walk, and his response to being asked 'what do you do in your workshops?' is a real window into what a wanker Kayden must be at dinner parties. Pointing gives him a total straight-faced belief in his own genius, which never wavers.

Something Pointing judges really well is the underlying aggression to Kayden. He gets frustrated with us, his students, for not being as astonishingly talented as he is, for not doing it right. He’s desperate to be inspirational but it’s not working out for either party, he suddenly becomes the teacher talking about 'wasting my time and yours,' but with more of an air of menace.

A lesser performer would have let that anger spill over, but Pointing just hints at it. It’s just a shadow that passes. Kayden remains a monstrous human, he doesn’t become a monster. By retaining that level of realism instead of taking the obvious route, Pointing shows how much confidence he has in his creation, and in his own ability.

Act Natural is underpinned by good writing, too. There’s no fat on the bone. You also get the feeling that Pointing could extract more out of Kayden than he does, especially as the 45-minute running time is the only mark against the show.

Even if you think the 'blue-sky thinking guru' thing has been parodied to death, Act Natural is worth watching, due to the completeness of Pointing’s performance. Then if you 1) let him in, 2) find your story, and 3) step free, you might be as good an actor as he is.

Review date: 20 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Southsider

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