Wednesday, 2 October 2002

The Angina Monologues, Oct 2, 2002

By Simon Kennedy  at Trades Hall October 2 to 19, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The Angina Monologues begins with the promise of being a challenging, dark comic walk through death. The title of Simon Kennedy's one-man show is attention grabbing. The opening story, about his dad dying from angina when Simon was nine, is interesting and risky.

There is definitely promise but not all is fulfilled. The Angina Monologues is more a stand-up comedy show than a series of theatrical monologues.

Kennedy has charm and his ideas are good. But some of his material and the loose structure of his show let him down.

His gags and stories range from smoking through serial killers, Adelaide, McDonald's,  Work Safety,  paternity and men's obsession with lingerie.

He draws much humour from he unlikely collision of images or ideas. Why is giving up smoking like masturbation? Toddlers as vigilantes

One clever twist of facts deals with actor Robert Wagner's  relationship to Adelaide serial killers.

He uses old slides of road accidents with police and ambulance in attendance. These are funny partly because of their 1960s period and goofy characters. Kennedy has not yet worked out exactly how to make them work as parody.

The show is too loose. It feels as if it needs a director and a script editor to tighten up both the comic material and Kennedy's performance.

He employs some recurring gags such as the slide that reads in huge letters after each problem is raised, What do you do?

The shifts between topics need to be smoother and Kennedy feels just a little uncomfortable on stage. With a stand up comic, we need to feel secure and safe.
Which brings me to the one part of the show that needs to be overhauled.

Kennedy coaxes onto stage a reluctant audience member and makes him responsible for making the resuscitation gag work. One rule of audience participation is Look after the audience member. Make him feel safe.

The poor man was most obliging but was embarrassed and profoundly uncomfortable with the heavy responsibility and focus put upon him.

He show is entertaining but the variable quality of material makes it too long at a full hour.

By Kate Herbert

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