Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Lewis Dowell: Absolutely Not

High-quality humour from a star on the rise who is poised to go to another level


Presented by Lewis Dowell
Reviewed 16th March, 2022

Having been sorely missed the past two years at Adelaide Fringe, former local boy Lewis Dowell makes a much-welcome return from Melbourne with his new fifty-minute show, Lewis Dowell: Absolutely Not. Immensely self-deprecating and as forthright as ever, Dowell is in fine form this season with work that will leave comedy-lovers in stitches.

Dowell is a master of making himself the butt of the joke. It seems since we saw him last, he has become only ever more aware of his areas of improvement and is equally as willing to share. Dowell has the irresistible quality of grounding his humour firmly in his personal insecurities, which are laid bare on stage. Any possible discomfort from such candour is avoided with delivery that makes us feel as though Dowell himself is equally surprised and concerned at his thought processes as we are. It’s not so much self-flagellation as intense self-reflection with good-hearted acknowledgement of all the little foibles.

It’s not hard to see Dowell must have kept his funny bone active during his hiatus from Adelaide Fringe. There’s no lull in this show, all the material is very solid and clearly has been refined to some degree prior to the Fringe. Each of his vignettes are inelegantly woven together but charmingly performed, nonetheless. Even without any real narrative structure, Dowell delivers a performance jam-packed with laughs that crescendos pleasantly.

Undoubtedly Dowell has found his comedic voice and it would be a shame if more people did not get to enjoy his work. He is surely as funny now as he has ever been and is deserving of a more impressive venue than the Alley Cat at Rhino Room. Understandably with a small following, artists in Dowell’s position take what they can to be at the heart of the Fringe, which Rhino is near enough to. Perhaps next year it would be worth the investment for Dowell to perform in the Garden or Gluttony, to get his excellent work to a wider audience. Suffering may be the marker of great art, but there’s no need for it to be done in obscurity.

It would not be hard to pass over this show in the Fringe guide, as there is little to distinguish Dowell from the many other comedy acts on offer, especially with the generic image and description provided. He is undoubtedly of a higher standard than many, and a talent that deserves an audience. Dowell has done the work to get funny enough for success. His next challenge is to make that success a reality and not sell himself short at the next festival, as perhaps he has here. In the meantime, can you afford to miss a rising talent of Australian comedy? Absolutely not.

Reviewed by Nick Harris
Twitter: @warmsteadyglow

Venue: Alley Cat at Rhino Room, Pirie St, Adelaide
Season: 9:00PM until Saturday March 19th
Duration: 50min
Tickets: $25 Full Price

Rating out of 5: 4

#Adelaide #ADLFringe #LiveComedy

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