Sunday, 31 March 2002

Port Out Starboard Home, Chris Addison, March 31.2002

Port Out Starboard Home - In the company of Chris Addison
Melbourne Town Hall, March 31 until April 21, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Chris Addison is like Hugh Grant on speed. He is dead charming, a bit of a toffy-nosed Brit and a self-declared 'middle-class, woolly left, Guardian reader."

His show is an engaging, funny and intelligent glance at how England copes with the rest of the world since it lost The Empire. Not well it seems - like an accountant whose sons have gone off to join the Tree Huggers.

We follow the fall of the Empire across a huge map of the world pinned on the back wall. We see the pink bits fall and argue about when Australia left the Empire. Does anyone know? Evidently it was not Federation.

Addison arives on stage dressed as a 30s dandy in a cream, Oxbridge summer suit as if ready for an Atlantic cruise and a spot of badminton on the deck. Each segment of the show is introduced by an old fashioned Music Hall title card set upon an easel at stage left.

The jokes come thick and fast and Addison's grasp of the Australian political scene is strong. He gives John Howard a big serve of vitriol, but then most comedians do.

 Why did we vote Howard in again, he asks, when he was on his way out last Comedy Festival? Are we idiots? Evidently we are.

His English-Australian references are numerous. He has a go at us (and particularly Mr. Howard) for not saying sorry, the Tampa, detention centres, refugees, cricket and the Ashes.

There are jibes at the English Bed and Breakfast. Why would the most unwelcoming nation in the world take people into their homes? Just to be rude to them.

His pirate material is a hoot as are the snipes at the English expatriates who climb an artificial social ladder in another country and fail to engage with the local culture.

His gentler attacks on English and Australian backpackers abroad. He calls it an 'anti-cultural exchange', to send our feckless youth overseas as ambassadors.

His rampant raving finale is a tribute to a litany of sins of the English. He calls upon the audience to go out and Anglo-evangelise the world. Go forth and propagate bad food, bad hospitality and bad cricket I suppose.

This is an impressive show with a charming and smart comedian.

By Kate Herbert

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