Taking place in the bowels of the Melbourne Town Hall is the funniest show I have experienced in the last few years. “The Incident” starring Sam Simmons and David Quirk is a masterpiece and I am quite happy to say that if you don’t agree then we shouldn’t be friends. I have dubbed this show “Aggressive Surrealism” but I fear planting a label over this show reduces it to a description that it doesn’t need. Nothing this good should be easily explained and I have no issue declaring this a masterpiece.
I’ve always suspected that Sam Simmons is a genius. You can tell in the way he approaches life. He’s not always easy to talk to and he doesn’t always seem rational but when he steps on to the stage his work declares a subtle truth that most people seem to miss. For all his garish neon pop art explosive comedic talent Sam is not afraid to shine a mirror on contemporary society that makes the weakest of us wince and the strongest gasp with delight.
David Quirk is much quieter and still in his comedic stance. Underneath that furrowed brow is a passion and talent that reveals itself in his clever phrasing of words and interested take on the world he is mired in. Quirk shrugs to one side the potential millstone of his name and plays with his thoughts in a way that can leave people doubled over with laughter and then left to wonder how he could point out the obvious that we all seemed to miss.
This show begins in violence. No cardigan wearing “how good is jam?” comedy here, it is born in rage and loneliness as it spills forth onto the stage. This is two men grappling with identity and honesty not only with themselves but also with each other. This show is the best statement I’ve seen about what contemporary men are all about without ever resorting to blanket statements that can’t stand up in the harsh light of day. And it is hilarious to boot!
Sam has claimed it makes no statement and that the show is just absurd. I don’t necessarily believe him and think he is being quite disingenuous. Why wouldn’t he? Let knob jockeys like me read too much into it and expound my theories to the world. A true genius doesn’t need to talk about his art and as I said, I suspect that Sam really is. (And he’s the only man I know who can grow a moustache and not only look quite good with it but also younger!) In Quirk he has found his Kiki Dee to his Elton John; his 1950’s Dick Grayson to his 1960’s Bruce Wayne; his Eliza Doolittle to his Henry Higgins. The tender violence that tethers them to each other only gets funnier and funnier as their whirling dance spirals out of control to it’s fitting climax, in the dark, alongside each other yet always apart.
This show inspired me and made me feel irrelevant all at once.
Go and see this show before these mad hairless monkeys explode into a palette of colours as they fling their shit and humour on the Town Hall walls, marking it for future generations to look back and marvel upon.
And don’t forget: it means nothing. Maybe.
April 8th, 2010