Billy Morgan The View From Here
Joel O'Donoghue Gut
Sam Burkett Dance You’re Alright
It’s stand-up night at The Place as three comedic works take to the stage in weird and wonderful ways. Billy Morgan is up first with an enigmatic yet charming performance of The View From Here. Morgan walks us through poems of intimacy and sensuality he’s fashioned together; some highlight the absurdity of the form, others make use of rhyme to make belly laugh-inducing statements of infatuation – “you make me want to go veggie, but not vegan”. Almost, but not quite love. Morgan is an incredible and engaging storyteller, his words and humour landing with ease with expert delivery. The choreography however feels lacking at times, with its only function to move us onto the next poetry reading scene. But it does little to detract from Morgan’s comedic brilliance.
The next act is less verbal and more physical with its humour. As Nat King Cole’s Smile plays, Joel O'Donoghue grins sheepishly in his Hawaiian shirt with a mic in hand. He’s not miming the lyrics. Instead, he lets his body, through small awkward shifts, convey the words the song entails. Gut navigates several striking scenes that creatively interrogate O'Donoghue’s digestive system issues. When a large red tube is flung on stage and he dives into it quite literally with swim shorts, it’s like watching a nimble, dance trained Lee Evans. Charismatic, physical, and hilarious. O'Donoghue has complete mastery of his craft and is such a joy to watch.
Sam Burkett Dance’s You’re Alright finds a nice blend between the preceding works in its physical theatre approach. It’s a girl’s night out but not everything is rosy. One girl (Corrie McKenzie) can’t stand the other (Sula Castle) but they must get along to appease a third party – the best friend of one and partner of the other. McKenzie is captivating, especially in her understanding of comedic timing. Swear words are so delicately yet perfectly delivered to make us laugh. Castle must be applauded for painting a hipster character I was on board with despising for a laugh – she makes a strong case with her obsession of obscure grunge and electronic music. That she is redeemable a mere 10 minutes later is a testament to Castle’s skill and Burkett’s writing. Strong on narrative progression and interesting characters, You’re Alright left me wanting more.