Presented by:Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed: 13 June 2018
Being funny is a serious business. Comedy is very subjective and one person’s hilarity can be another’s hindrance. That’s why most comedians lasting the distance should be applauded. Whilst a few skim the surface of incredibly bad taste, others use humanity’s foibles to conjure laughs. Comedy also transcends generations as it evolves over the decades. Although the humour of Benny Hill, the Carry On films and the like may be considered politically incorrect by today’s standards, they still have their place in the formation of comedic tastes. Today the landscape has seen a plethora of new performers tackle the comedy beast such as Joel Creasey and Lawrence Leung. Like many others, they hold a mirror to Australian society in the early 21st century with their peculiar obsessions gleefully given full flight.
Very Strange Things is the latest work of the multi-talented Lawrence Leung. Comedian, actor, writer and director, he has run the gamut of show-business. His excellent TV series Lawrence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure was a wonderfully irreverent ode to 80’s pop culture. Other shows such as Maximum Choppage and Offspring have revealed his diverse range and eagerness to push boundaries. An exclusive for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Very Strange Things presents over an hour of weird mind games and mystical behaviour in the usually insightful Leung manner. A magic show with a difference Very Strange Things was peculiar but also very funny. Exploring notions of coincidences, séances, psychic phenomenon and the like, the show also unravelled the power of human perception.
All of this doesn’t mean Very Strange Things was as fascinating as a double maths lesson, as Leung’s excellent rapport with the audience was in full flight. Never afraid to take the mickey out of himself but never his audience, Leung knows how to wring laughs without being vicious. Many audience members were brought on stage to partake in his unusual ‘mystical experiments’ with some resulting in genuine surprises. Not only does he have a way in making people laugh but also in changing their attitude towards certain things. His love for pop culture was evident with a Rubik’s Cube and other colourful paraphernalia given a gleeful airing. It was wonderful seeing the attitude of audiences changing during the course of the show with it being a lesson in human nature as well as mirth.
Leung makes for an engaging master of ceremonies with his humorous patter in full flight. His experience in dealing with all sorts of people ensured the laughs were spread evenly among both genders. Whilst certain celebrities were given a deserved pasting, their addition aided the show’s pacing which never dragged. The lighting and staging were sublime with the occasional use of music well timed. It would be churlish to spoil anymore of the show lest he travels it elsewhere, but it’s clear his stellar TV work is no fluke.
Those who are genuinely funny deserve to be seen such as Lawrence Leung. Very Strange Things is a fine feather in his creative cap with the laughs and moments of purely amazing tricks dazzling. Mind games have never been as funny or thought-provoking as here as Leung spins a magical web amongst old and new fans alike.
Rating out of 5: 5
Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Season: 13 – 14 June 2018
Duration: 1 hr.
Tickets: Premium – Adult: $36.90, A Reserve: Adult – $31.90, Concession – $26.90.
Bookings: Book online at www.bass.net.au or phone BASS on 131 246