Suren Jayemanne: Deus Eczemachina | Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Suren Jayemanne: Deus Eczemachina

Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Suren Jayemanne’s step up from a decent, promising comedian to a more vital one may have another 12 months to wait. For his third festival offering is a perfectly enjoyable hour, but missing that extra oomph.

Maybe he’s not as hungry for success as some. For while many a comedian bemoans their poverty-striken lifestyle in some godforsaken share house, Jayemanne – who’s also an accountant – is living it up in the affluent Sydney suburb of Double Bay where he frets about his working relationship with the cleaner. #firstworldproblems. Plus he has the biggest trophy of them all to show he’s winning in life: a white girlfriend.

He frequently mentions her ethnicity, tongue increasingly in cheek, as a nod to racial realities. Although this relatively placid Sri Lankan makes his ethnic background only a part of his set, these routines are the ones that have the most impact, as he matter-of-factly recalls  how he’d call himself Indian for ease or mulling the illogical racism that assumes everyone from the subcontinent is a cab driver, The numbers don’t add up – and given his day job, that’s very important to him.

The delightfully strained pun of the title refers to the skin condition he suffers, which meant he had to buy a specialist vacuum cleaner at unfeasibly large expense. It’s one of several domestic stories that are have a mildly amusing tag, but don’t really take the audience anywhere – and which lack the significance of routines that involve wider social observations.

A soft-spoken delivery  and relaxed pace brings the audience in, although he has an odd tic of ending each routine with a step back and a look to his right. It’s where his notes are, but he’s not really looking at them, it’s possibly more of a comforting reminder that they are there if he needs them – but peculiar for the audience.

The sum of it all is that Deus Eczemachina is an engaging, but unremarkable, hour of mild-mannered stand-up.

Review date: 7 Apr 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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