Russell McGilton has the makings of a true Fringe Dweller.
Ah the Melbourne Fringe Festival. But what is it about an act that makes it truly worthy of this unique festival of the arts? Is it eclectic and unusual performance? Is it quirky and offbeat comedy? Or is it the well-timed use of sound, image and movement to create a show that is, well, just a little left of centre?
If this is true, then Russell McGilton has the makings of a true Fringe Dweller. McGilton is an Australian comedian/writer/public speaker who has previously performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, and previous Melbourne Fringe Festivals. He brings his most recent live show Accidents are Prohibited on this Road to Cabaret Voltaire this Fringe Festival season, and it’s pretty bloody funny.
Russell spins a web mired with tales of travel in his youth. His stories span from taking naughty drugs in Amsterdam, to attending meditation camps where he was forbidden to speak or, err, engage in any sexual misconduct. He recounts his travels to Kenya, where he has unfortunate run-ins with all kinds of large wildlife, including rhinoceroses and his hotel cleaning lady.
His stories and facial expressions are comical, and the show is well-scripted and constructed. McGilton has photos of his trip and lessons that he learnt flashing up on a screen to the side of stage – his dramatic lighting effects and splashes of music enhance the routine, and his accents are pretty funny, if not always consistent.
What McGilton lacked in this performance was the sense of atmospheric ambience required to pull off a seamless routine. This was partly due to the size of the crowd and the extreme intimacy of the venue; at times it felt a little like you were sitting in someone’s living room listing to a mate recount their travels overseas. However, the act still works, and is still very very funny. His performance can only be bolstered and enhanced by a larger crowd, so do yourself and him a favour and go and see it.
Give him the audience he deserves. And laugh your pants off.