Blake Freeman: There's Something There | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Blake Freeman: There's Something There

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

An absolute natural on stage and an authentic voice from the under-represented young working class, Blake Freeman is easily worthy of his best newcomer nomination this festival.

Just 23 years old, he owns the stage like a comedian twice his age - not through a flurry of youthful energy, but though a calm confidence, spending the full hour perched atop a bar stool, casually shooting the breeze.

Prefacing some routines with the notion that this ‘isn’t part of the show’ adds to his relaxed intimacy, while he was able to deal with an audience member who wanted to join in with a friendly authority that kept the interruptions at bay. Given his background, maybe conflict resolution is in his blood.

Freeman is from the Western suburbs of Sydney – a place where a meat pie is considered a sign of gentrification – and is disarmingly frank about his life there.

His family provides much fodder, from his stepmom fighting a parking inspector to a decidedly dubious brother.

He’s not above subjecting himself to his ow critical gaze either, wondering about his own stupidity in routines that again show a maturity beyond his years. But there’s little he can learn about how to tell a stand-up routine, despite self-effacingly suggesting he’s just a kid ‘giving it a go’ at the top of the show.

There’s a lot going on in these 55 minutes, with the underlying notion that Freeman is a flawed young man trying to break free of his environment and expectations to be better than what he seemed destined to become. But it’s handled lightly and unaffectedly, tempered by gags that are pure flippant, such as the indecipherable lyrics of Young Thug.

The first 40 minutes or so of his debut is absolutely riveting stuff, but he loses some momentum in the home straight when he starts discussing his pet dog, with more affection than funnies, then embarks on an uncharacteristically odd train of thought suggesting that there should only be four categories of animal.

His closing routine, about ‘playing dead’ pranks from his teenage years, could also be set up better, but in the end the story provides a worthy ending 

A few rough edges are only to be expected from newcomers, but Freeman has fewer than most. At his assured best, his talent for relaxed, storytelling and innate good timing, makes for compelling comedy. There’s Something There? Too right there is

Review date: 16 Apr 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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