Joel Creasey in The Drama Captain
Joel Creasey @ Rhino Room – Howling Owl
10:00pm, Fri 22 Feb 2013
A frantic dash through the (previously unknown to me) Friday-night markets sees me scurrying into the Howling Owl just as Joel Creasey was launching into his opening song; as I crouched under the spotlight, I couldn’t help but notice Creasey’s stereotypical nasal, campy singing style. I found an unoccupied chaise lounge at the back of the room, and spent the first couple of minutes of the show sweating from the changeover.
Creasey – clad in his old school uniform (well… his blazer, at least) – spends the first half of his show discussing his role as the eponymous Drama Captain: the leader of the tiny Drama group in his school, led by a disinterested teacher and featuring some even more disinterested students. His heartbreak at not getting the leading role in the big school production leads to a second half which deals with the love and loss of his most recent boyfriend – and that’s equal parts lovely and heartwarming and backhanded snark.
The comparison – and contrast – between the two halves of the show demonstrate a remarkable maturity in Creasey’s writing… but that’s not to say that he ignores his role as comedian. He revels in the stereotype of the bitchy camp: his school days, in particular, are full of humorous spite; after mentioning that Ben Cousins and Buddy Franklin both went to his school, his disdain was obvious, and Creasey seemingly has no issues with painting a picture of Franklin as a disabled-taunting bully. The second half seemed to alternate between heartfelt tenderness and out-and-out cattiness… but there’s still some brilliant asides to his desperate jaunt to a local store upon the release of his first DVD (his disappointment is amusingly palpable), and there’s a hilarious reference to Amol misuse (and the second reference to that muscle relaxant that I’d heard within a couple of days… I’m guessing it must be A Thing now).
The Drama Captain felt like a brutally honest (and henceforth personal) show, peppered with little nuggets of raw truth from Creasey’s emotional travails. That he also manages to make his tales funny – at times uproariously so – is a credit to his writing skills; it really was a high-quality hour of stand-up, delivered with confidence by a truly skilful comic.