I managed to nail seeing three shows yesterday. First up was my friend Gordon Southern whose show was on at 5.30pm at the Gilded Balloon. I saw this show in Adelaide when it had a season at the Rhino Room and it was great to see Gordy on his home (festival) turf. He has excellent energy that never wavers and his crowd work flows seamlessly in and out of his material. Gordy is also incredibly charming and clever which is pretty much what I want from English comedy.
Next up was the wonderful Cal Wilson. Cal has an amazing ability to continuously come up with inventive shows that showcase all her skills without ever feeling like she is showcasing all her skills. I had known the idea behind the show but wasn't certain how it was going to play out and was delighted when it was all revealed before me. All you need to know is that the show has four characters that appear throughout Cal's narrative and take it from there.
At the end of the night I checked out Demi Lardner's show and it is great to see such a young talent doing exactly what young talent should do: throwing every idea she has against the wall. Demi has a unique voice that is only in the very early stages of her career (having said that she's 20 years old so she's in the early stages of everything!) and also has an onstage confidence that is amazing to behold. In the audience were Felicity Ward, Celia Pacquola, Cal Wilson, one third of Axis of Awesome, one of my management group and this idiot. I think a lot of young Aussie performers may have found this a little overwhelming but Demi was very funny and her show reveals future greatness.
I was pumped to find another audience waiting for me and this time there appeared to be even less ex-pats in the room. It is exciting to perform an hour show to an audience that has no idea who you are as it provides challenges that you don't have to deal with back home anymore. Even if an audience member doesn't know me well there is a good chance they've at least heard of me in some capacity. That includes everything comment ranging from "He's great!" to "He's not for me!" This audience felt like a blank canvas and I found that to be exciting. Here's the set list:
Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994
There were some real improvements in the performance from the opening night and there were two mild stumbles. The improvements came from the fact that I am feeling the cadence of the show returning and the segues into each section of the show are feeling more natural. In fact I was finding that some of the show had even found a new rhythm that was more to my liking than Melbourne. As I stated in the previous blog this version of the show is feeling more reflective and gentle. I quite like that and I would hope that next year's show (whatever that may be...I have ideas) will continue to hold on to that feel.
Then there were two stumbles that were mildly annoying. The first was the changing of a word to help make the reference fly over in the UK more. On the first day I had referenced "Contiki Tours" but after talking to a fellow comedian I was encouraged to change it to a "Gap Year". I may have not nailed the use of the term though so I'll have to re-work this to see if I can make it flow better. Later in the show I had nailed a routine that I had slightly stumbled on the previous night. I felt so good about this that in the next routine I obviously wasn't concentrating enough and transposed the word "trilogy" for "documentary". As soon as I did that I knew I'd messed up but just kept performing as if that was exactly what was meant to happen. Pretty annoying but that is the type of mistake you make when you're early in a run. Nothing to get worried or too upset about. Of course the lesson there is don't get too happy with yourself in the middle of a gig!
I'm pretty happy overall with the first two shows but also know there is plenty of room for improvement. I'm hoping that by the end of this first weekend I'll be around the mark of where I want to be and well on my way. Until then it is all about ironing out a few wrinkles and improving from show to show.
August 1st, 2014