Well I didn’t see this one coming. I was approached through my blog to do a review of a couple of shows during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I thought, cool, I can do that. Although I do have a bit of an issue with reviewers. Not all of them, just the ones who state opinion as fact. Some can back up their comments with a reason others don’t feel the need to. Others again think that review means, see how many faults you can find and call it constructive criticism.
So with that in mind, here is my opinion and a bit about how the night all went.
I was given the choice of 18 international shows and told to pick 2 or 3. I picked 3. The first one (no particular order), I was too slow with the reply and there was no room. Second one was at the same time as a mate’s engagement party. Bummer! Sounded great. The third one is Canadian Mae Martin and her show DOPE.
Caught the train in to save the 3 hours of looking for a park in the city. It also meant I got there pretty early, relaxed and casual. Said hello to a couple of comedians I know out the front of the Town Hall and headed in to the media section to collect my tickets. Stood happily in the queue to go in and when the tickets were scanned, it was for another night. Quickly headed back to the media desk, got it all sorted, got the ticket I supposed to receive in the first place and just got back to the room as the last person before the doors shut. Not quite as calm and relaxed. Grabbed a seat, calmed down and was ready for the show.
Now to start, this how the show is described in the festival guide:-
Mae Martin is breaking the habit. Her new show Dope “whips through personal anecdotes and smartly written analogies” (The Times, UK) of a lifetime of obsessions, fandom and addiction. It shines a light on that one weird shrimp we all have in our brains that is happy to pursue short-term pleasure despite the long-term negative consequences. It asks – who are we when we’re not addicted?
Mae is the star of BBC Radio 4’s Mae Martin’s Guide to 21st Century Sexuality and has been seen on BBC3’s Russell Howard’s Good News and Live From the BBC. She returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2017 after a successful debut in 2016.
Mae bounces out onto the stage with lots of energy and excitement. Gives everyone a quick bit of background of a Canadian living in the UK and starts her journey with us. Her delivery is so energetic and punchy that if I was to say everything she said it would have been a two to three hour show instead of one.
She takes us through a journey of what it is like to have an obsessive personality. Something a lot of us can relate to on some level. For a long time mine was Angry Birds, Mae’s was Bette Midler. Starting with easily relatable, infatuation the sliding smoothly into bizarre and slightly surreal fantasies (Mae and Bette, not me and Angry Birds). Everyone in the room was there in the absurdity with her and her shrimp in the brain analogy too explain all this.
Then she moves from Bette into some other habits and addictions. The topics move into some dark areas but it never felt like it. the whole evening feels quite light, charged and happy. Never dwelling on anything heavy for too long before bouncing straight into punchline after punchline.
Now I feel like maybe this was me being a bit judgemental but the gentleman beside me easily had more than a decade on me, age wise. So when some of the topics being discussed were heading into the heavier type direction, I would glance sideways to watch his reaction. At no stage did he appear uncomfortable. He laughed as did the rest of the room from start to finish. The whole room was along for the ride.
She finishes back in the fantasy world and receives a huge round of applause from the nearly full room and leaves the stage with people still cheering and clapping.
So in summary, this was a lot of fun. I would strongly recommend everyone to go and see Mae Martin. She delivers a strong dose of reality in the most fun way I have ever seen in put. No anger, no hatred, but lots of life. The good and the bad and the funny in both. I believe reviewers give a number of stars in a score out of 5 so I will give her 4.5 stars. Only losing the half star because I don’t believe in perfection. Sorry Mae, my issue.
Here is the link to her show so make sure you get the Powder Room at the Town Hall and enjoy the show. https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/mae-martin
I had a great night and then walked from the Town Hall back to an overcrowded train where I got to stand for the whole trip home. That was a little tiring after a 10 hour shift at work that day but it was worth it. Chat to you again soon.