A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Comedy as you've never heard it before
Imagine a stand-up comedy show - where there's no talking! Difficult, right? Well, that's what you've got in May Contain Traces of Reading, which is currently playing in Melbourne. Victorian-based performer Mitchell E Roberts takes centre stage in this comedy show with a difference.
Mitchell E Roberts performs a silent stand-up comedy show in May Contain Traces of Reading (image supplied)
Through Roberts' alter ego, Robert Mitchell, and with a heavy reliance on large printed flash cards, the audience is taken through a hilarious and highly entertaining one-hour show.
Mitchell, we learn, took a vow of silence as a teenager, and while this has led to some awkward social situations, he was determined that it would not deter him in his quest to become a stand-up comedian.
But how do you build in the key elements of stand-up without talking? Through the extremely clever use of props, a bit of audience participation, and support from a somewhat wayward 'computer' projecting onto a screen.
The show is carefully sequenced, with a folder of cards for each segment. It's clear a huge amount of preparation has gone into the show. There is a significant risk of something going wrong - but it doesn't. The show is executed to perfection, the timing brilliant.
Roberts delivers his comedy with a little help from some large flash cards. (Writer's image.)
You might also wonder if it's possible for a comedian to achieve audience interaction without talking to them. Well, it is, and Roberts does it most effectively. Heckling is not only tolerated, but it's also encouraged. And yes, there's a folder for cutting or witty comebacks too.
Drawing perhaps on his educational background (Roberts has a Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre)), Roberts adds a cabaret element to the show through a song and dance sequence, and even an audience sing-along.
Roberts channels his inner Beyonce. (Writer's image.)
This is surely one of the cleverest, most original concept shows I've seen in a long time. Is genius too strong a word? Hmmmm. All I can say is I laughed and laughed. Brilliant! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The only thing Roberts needs to make this an even better show is a bigger audience. And that's where you come in!