Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
The science of love and sweat, with laughs along the way
Luke Morris' show Love, Sweat and Science at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is a combination of stand up, confessional comedy, and research presentation, and is one of the festival's quirkier offerings this year. Delivered in the style of a powerpoint presentation, the show contains political references, celebrity photographs, excerpts from academic research, Facebook screenshots, and original MS Paint artwork, combined to deliver content that is unorthodox but engaging.
The show is true to its title, exploring the science of love and sweat. Morris opens up about his personal experiences (or scarcity thereof) in love, and his life with hyperhidrosis (a condition that causes him to sweat excessively), and shares with us his discoveries about both those subjects. The show is structured well and the content is easy to follow, especially the sciencey bits and the cute artwork. There are parts of the show that stray into slightly uncomfortable territory, especially parts of the discussion about nice guys versus arseholes in the dating world, but Morris' personal perspective and uncommon life experience make the audience want to listen and learn from what he's got to share.
Morris uses a few different styles of humour, notably audience interaction (he does well to get the audience on side throughout the show) and callback references. He also throws in some unexpected cheesy jokes, which gives the show a bit of balance especially towards the end. Overall, the show is funny but leans more towards being a learning experience, in more than just a sciencey way. This show is clearly a very personal and meaningful work for Morris, and is designed as a journey into the show's themes through the lens of his unique lived experience.
Where to sit for Love, Sweat and Science is a slightly tricky question. The screen is definitely a very important part of the show, so do sit where you can see it clearly. Morris also has a special surprise for people in the front two rows, so if you're the type that likes surprises, go for the front two rows (I did). However, be mindful that your neck might feel a bit strained by the end of the show because of how close the front row is to the elevated stage, and choose a seat where you think you'll feel most comfortable.