March 7, 2024

Leave to Enter

Two/fiftyseven, once you find it*, is potentially the nicest venue for Fringe this year. It's a coworking office with a cafe (bar for shows) and performance space overlooking the old central library. It's spacious. light, quiet and clean (don't get me started on the floors in the Fringe bar), plus it's not at the busy end of town. All of this added to a much more relaxed atmosphere for Leave to Enter. 

There's an audiovisual element that is nicely done so it doesn't distract or detract from the commentary. The great venue means the microphone and brief music aren't at an ear piercing level either. All around this might be an easier show for people with sensory issues to attend.

The basic premise of the show is you need "leave" or permission to enter a country which Nick Robertson was denied when he attempted to visit Scotland in 2017. What follows at a high level must have actually been really anxiety inducing; flying long distance is bad enough but being detained is worse. However, apart from a wee panic when he might miss a flight, I didn't experience any of the stress from the situation - which considering it's traumatic, says a lot about Nick's talent for comedic delivery.

Interspersed with the travel story we learn more about Nick, his life and his family. He's relatable, an everyday, potentially nerdy kind of guy who seems to have been overlooked apart from this one unfortunate incident. His comedy however hasn't been overlooked; this show has won awards and a fellow red headed Australian comedian has only great things to say about him (check out his press release). Many cliches apply here: "one to watch"; "destined for great things"; and "don't judge a book by its cover", this is "not to be missed".

Performances: 7-9 March 7pm

Tickets: $25

*thank you to the Fringe team for instructions with the tickets

March 1, 2024

The Unluckiest Magician

My first thought when Steve Wilbury walked on stage was "he looks like a magician - he should be wearing a top hat." Sadly, the top hat never appeared, which is a huge shame as it would suit him.

It felt like the show couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Was it stand up comedy? Was it a magic show? Was it personal story telling? All the parts were good individually, but somehow didn't meld together well. Perhaps if they had been tied back to the title it may have worked but each part seemed to stretch too long. Unfortunately when you aren't invested in the magic tricks you're able to peek behind the curtain, ruining the least some of the time, there were other times when he truly amazed the audience.

The level of personal disclosure is high and may be too intense for some. It would have been amusing if this were treated like a lesson, with a pointer indicating each injured part of the body.

Be warned there is audience participation, always a risk with comedy and doubly so with a magician, a couple of people were even pulled on stage. Throughout there was a comfortable banter with the crowd and a real stage presence from the magician, who is honestly pretty lucky to have lived through what he has.

Tickets: $20

Performances: 6pm, 1-3 March