Words by Jack Holmes
Adelaide punters are notoriously fickle folk, and after a full scale Sunday downpour I was expecting sparse numbers for the last showing of Breakout Comedy at Fowlers Live. Having failed to lure any of my friends out into the cold I rocked up to the venue with Mum in tow. Taking our seats amongst an audience of 20 or so in the vast cavern that is the Fowlers band room I could only think this would be a tough gig.
What followed could only be described as the exact opposite feeling to when you leave a great stand up showing dreaming of what it would be like to be a comedian yourself. The final show of Breakout Comedy could be described as a gritty expose of the reality of trying to make a name for yourself on the cut-throat Australian comedy circuit.
Significant credit must go to the three acts for the night, all acutely aware of the lacklustre attendance but managing to keep the ball rolling and carry everyone through, ‘shit vibe hey’ remarked Becky Lucas mid set. There were genuine laughs and good moments, but the lack of atmosphere never allowed the audience to get comfortable enough to really enjoy themselves.
Sam’s intimidating unpredictability and alien-like presence drew some big notes from pockets of the crowd, but this act in particular was hurt by the low crowd numbers, audience members possibly feeling a bit too exposed to get an board with a comedian who’s whole persona is centered around uncomfortable weirdness.
More successful on the night were Michelle Briaser and Becky Lucas, their acts built around the absurd situations that break up their typically normal lives, think being set on fire by your laptop, or being caught having sex wearing a backpack. Both women handled the small audience very well and wore an aura of uncoolness that was genuinely very charming and funny.
Ultimately, despite the best efforts of the three comedians, the night was not one that could be saved; the balancing act of comedy is hard to pull off even in a room full of people. A more intimate setting would have given the comedians a fairer shot at really drawing the audience in and flexing their talent.
Breakout Comedy has concluded its run at the Adelaide Fringe.