I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
Laugh until your sides split
A truce across the borders has taken place as Melbourne's Matt Stewart and Sydney's Nick Capper teamed up at Little Mess for a Melbourne Comedy Festival Re-Run. In the tiniest venue in the world, Matt Stewart brought back Pretty Dryand Nick Capper gave Melbourne one last look at Chrome Doggie before heading home.
Stewart is a Melbourne comedian. A winner of RAW Comedy in 2014, he is also a key member of the Stupid Old Studios team in Brunswick. Stupid Old Studios is a technical production services business so it is with more than a little touch of irony Stewart's comic persona is tech obtuse.
Stewart's style of unemotional naivete reminded me of the classic comedy character Elliot Goblett. Using deadpan delivery with clever and unexpected observations, Pretty Dry is a continual experience of the pleasingly unexpected with no cues as to where Stewart is taking us. Combining deadpan with a non-confrontational 'dorky dad' style of content, Stewart manages to bring some very modern ideas to a very traditional format. In particular, I couldn't get enough of his rhyming slang segment and his impressive list of things he regrets.
Capper has a more blokey style, starting Chrome Doggie with video imagery reminding us of those uber masculine images of The Marlboro Man - albeit with a beer gut... Capper was a bit more confined in the intimate venue as his show is much more physical than Stewart's and has a lot of video interaction as well as a dance scene. (I can't say any more about that - you need to see it for yourself).
Capper has quite a genius with his technical humour but he styles his presentation and physicality off American comedian Chris Morris and this does give a slightly uncomfortable feel as it lacks a certain spontaneity. I admit that Capper's show meandered a bit far into the masculine for me. This became clear when I realised I didn't get the pay off joke which is the basis of the show title. Having said that, I still got a lot of laughs and I suspect Capper has a lot of appeal in his heartland, regional Australia.
The pairing of Pretty Dry and Chrome Doggie was a master stroke of programming. The technical wasteland of Stewart's work is a beautiful foil for the technical genius of Capper's. Both have an underlying self-deprecation to their persona's and Pretty Dry brings a New Age sensibility which contrasts wonderfully with Chrome Doggie's ocker roots.
You won't be able to see these two perform together in Melbourne again anytime soon but Capper is taking his show back to Sydney this weekend. Don't miss it and keep an eye out for both comedians in your local venues.