Gravity Boots and Friends
Gravity Boots @ The Light Hotel – High Rollers Room
8:30pm, Tue 6 Mar 2012
Ohboyohboyohboy. I’d been looking forward to this show for ages, and had used this as a starting-point for the entire day’s activities; it was only later that I realised that it was Cheap Tuesday, and that I hadn’t given the ‘Boots as much money as I could have.
Running a little late, I dash upstairs at the Light and am gently guided towards the High Rollers Room. It’s already pretty full, and there’s some rockin’ armchairs in the second row; they’re mostly occupied by a clutch of older women, cackling gleefully within their group. They spot lonely old me, and happily shuffle up to offer me the end armchair. Once I’m seated, my neighbour turned to me: “how do you know The Boys?” she asks, with a zeal that makes me think that there’s familial pride involved.
The Gravity Boots set is a collection of self-contained absurdist sketches, all of which feature writers Michael Cleggett and James Lloyd-Smith, and some of which are familiar – there’s the clown-and-button piece, and the seminal goat/leopard routine is still gloriously entertaining. Each piece is connected by equally absurd segments featuring Nathan Cox and Austin Harrison-Bray (who also provide keys and guitar, respectively) playing two cats who sing whilst operating a light-bulb driven time machine… yes, you read that right.
But there’s some new pieces, too – the closing song (which I think described a gecko opening a Mexican roach nightclub) is eyebrow-raisingly silly, and the Kings of Spain bit is bloody good fun too. The Boys are ably joined onstage by Matthew Barker and Alyssa Mason, as scenes require… and the sketches that feature the extended ‘Boots family are wonderfully well written, with sparkling rapid-fire banter bouncing between the performers.
After seeing The Ridiculous Files last year, I mentioned that sketch comedy seems to get overlooked – sneered at, even – by the comedy-going public. And whilst the aforementioned Files did deliver quality sketches, I must admit to having never really taken a shine to the darlings of the Adelaide sketch scene, The Golden Phung. But none of that really matters, because Gravity Boots are the Kings of Adelaide Sketch Comedy – and it could easily be argued that the word “sketch” be struck from that description.
I love Gravity Boots, I really do. Their writing confidently straddles the line that separates the bizarre and the absurd, but it’s always in the region of gut-bustingly funny. And their relatively simple presentation – seemingly reliant on Cleggett & Lloyd-Smith’s persistent white long-johns being accented by only the smallest costumery – ensures that the focus is on the writing and the performances… and the quality of both is impeccable.
In fact, the only thing I love more than what Gravity Boots brings to the stage is the fanaticism, the belief, that seems to surround them. After I first saw their work in last last year’s Gluttony Showcase, I was contacted by (the lovely) Leonie, who informed me of an off-programme show at the Carry On within Gluttony; I scrambled along to this show and was overjoyed to be reluctantly granted entry into a packed tent full of family, friends, and bubbling optimism. The entire crowd felt incredibly supportive, and even belted out a raucous Happy Birthday when it was revealed that it was one of The Boys’ birthday; that level of support was also evident when I attended one of their (again, near-capacity) fundraising shows prior to their Edinburgh jaunt this year.
And that sort of visible belief – in a bunch of youngsters doing utterly bizarre sketch comedy, of all things – is a joy to behold.