Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 27 March 2016
Wil Anderson in Fire at Wil, March 25, 2016 ****1/2
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Comedy Theatre, until April
Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ****1/2
Review also in Herald Sun Comedy Festival web page today, Sat March 26, 2016. KH
It must be exhausting inside Wil
Anderson’s head during his new show, Fire at Wil, in which he delivers a
barrage of gags at the firing rate of an AK47.
Anderson’s head visibly vibrates
with barely contained energy as he hurtles through 70 minutes of cunningly
written comedy that illuminates current political and social issues with his
inimitable wit and intelligence.
His gags target lefty hipsters and
stuffy conservatives alike, but he begins with his lament over losing masses of
great, topical comedy when Tony Abbott, that goldmine of comic material
(onion-eating – say no more), lost the Prime Ministership to Malcolm Turnbull
Despite Turnbull not doing any ridiculous
stuff – in public, at least – Anderson still gets heaps of comic mileage out of
him, starting with Turnbull’s memorable quote, ‘There’s never been a more exciting
time to be alive’, an epithet Anderson reiterates throughout the show.
With exceptional comic skill,
warmth and audience engagement (or is it clever crowd manipulation?), Anderson challenges
the preconceptions and political views of his audience, tempering his jibes and
criticisms with non sequiturs and absurd links to giraffes giving birth.
He reminds us of our love of the Long
Weekend while challenging our views on Australia Day and the First Fleet or pointing
out the common ground between Republicans and Monarchists in this country.
‘We (humans) work together’, he
repeats, taking the crowd with him as he confronts us with issues about refugees
and boat arrivals, rampant and irrational racism, the ill- treatment of Adam
Goodes by football fans and a few sideswipes at Pauline Hanson, Andrew Bolt and
Anderson generates belly laughs
and giggles while craftily taking the crowd with him on a carefully structured
journey to some glimmer of awareness of the spectrum of views on crucial social
He zips between topics ranging
from Halal food to David Jones and terrorism, then to lunatics ranting on
Twitter and a rave about toasters.
Anderson keeps the audience on
side with cunning twists and turns, reincorporation and gentle ribbing, social
commentary and discreet targeting of individuals and issues.
Fire At Wil is an evening of huge
laughs from a consummate comic talent with a social conscience – if you can
keep up with his Eveready Bunny pace.