Laurence Driscoll: The Prodigay Son | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Laurence Driscoll: The Prodigay Son

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Coming-out stories are a comedy festival staple, especially for debutants, but Laurence Driscoll makes his stand apart with a spirited delivery and tight, efficient storytelling.

The beats of the narrative are familiar, from growing up in a small country town where being gay didn’t appear to be an option to finding his identity in Sydney, where he threw himself into his first Mardi Gras. And what his conservative dad – already in his mid-50s and set in his ways when he fathered Laurence – makes of his son’s sexuality is the question at the heart of all this. Will there be acceptance?

Driscoll paints a vivid picture of life in Milbrulong, New South Wales, occasionally illustrated with actual photos, such as that of his younger self in adorably unfashionable shorts. Talk of the things his farming family consumed in a budget-inflicted early version of nose-to-tail eating is particularly visceral, with pictures of offal dishes that really ought to come with a trigger warning.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaExaggerating the significance of every anecdote, the comic quickly has the room invested in his story. He’s a slightly camp performer, but bubbling with amiable confidence that makes us feel at ease, as if in the easy company of an old mate.

Occasionally, his outlook can be clichéd, such as suggesting watching the muscular men of AFL is a ‘bit gay’, but even so, he finds a few unique taglines. For while the show’s a straightforward origin story, it never loses sight of the funny in any situation, and – with the aid of director Claire Hooper – is constantly moving, no time for lulls. 

But it’s Driscoll himself whioc is the appeal, more than the material. It may be his first show, but he presents as a fully-formed comedian, entertaing and open and worthy of his place on the best newcomer shortlist.

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Review date: 21 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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