Thursday, 23 August 2018

May Contain Traces Of Reading - Comedy Review

What: May Contain Traces Of Reading
When: 20 - 25 August 2018
Where: The Butterfly Club
Created and performed by: Mitchell E Roberts

Mitchell E Roberts
I am on a roll this week. Two nights in a row I have managed to see the best and funniest shows in Melbourne right now. First was Mothermorphosis and now it's May Contain Traces Of Reading at The Butterfly Club. Comedian Mitchell E Roberts introduces us to his alter ego Robert Mitchell and we spend the rest of the hour down the rabbit hole of non-stop laughs as we navigate the trips and spills of a life lived without uttering a single word.

Did she just say what I think she said? Yes indeed! Not a single word is spoken by Mitchell throughout the show but don't get me wrong - he never shuts up!

Brecht would have been proud of this comedian as he waves placards and cue cards at us with precise comedic timing constantly spurred on (and riled up) by his computer side-kick Captain Mac Sparrow. Self-taught with the great classical training manual Stand-Up Comedy For Dummies, Mitchell ticks off all the elements that go into perfect stand-up including first joke and last joke, interaction, relatability, and - most importantly - how to deal with hecklers. Who says you need to be able to hear to respond to a heckler? A burn is a burn regardless of whether it is on point or not.

A man with an competitive side which has doomed him to live without spoken words, Mitchell takes us through the pitfalls (and bonuses) of navigating hospitality work and heartbreak when you can't hear those around you and have to communicate with writing. What I learnt is it can be a real bonus as a bartender, but first dates are impossible. I also learnt computers can be really sassy if you don't keep them in line!

It takes a moment for the audience to realise there will be silence. We are not very comfortable with silence coming from stage it turns out, but Mitchell is quick to teach us that we are the noise source and I think one of the things which makes this show work so well is we have to respond and react or we are the ones left feeling lost and alone.

Here's the trick. The more you get into it, the more fun you will have. You are not on your own though. Mitchell conducts the audience like a maestro and each of us brings our own instruments including clapping, laughing, cheering, and yes - even a bit of singing (we all love The Angels, right).

Mitchell is also a master of impressions and his Britney Spears impression will leave you rolling on the floor laughing. Quoting Voltaire, Mitchell spends the show measuring where he sits on the scale of being a God or being a comedian. Perhaps he is both.

I laughed from top to bottom with this show. It's an early one so finish up at work, head down to The Butterfly Club for a warm mulled wine (sooooooo good), enjoy some of the best comedy you will see this winter, and then head out or head home for a cosy night in front of the heater with a warm belly and a warm heart.

5 Stars


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