Adam Hills – Joymonger (FringeTIX)
Adam Hills @ Thebarton Theatre
7:30pm, Fri 23 Mar 2007
I’m an hour early for the show, so I park my arse in a corner by an unopened bar. It feels like a Saturday. I type a bit of bollocks about a few shows – you know, trying to clear a bit of my backlog – when a pretty blonde leans into the collection of seats I’m hogging – “anyone sitting here?”
“Nah, feel free,” I reply. She sits. I glance at her; she looks familiar, but I can’t quite place her.
“Seen anything decent at the Fringe?” I query with my well-practiced opening.
“No, I just flew in today.”
“Holidays, or Artist?”
“I’ve got a show.”
Ah, it’s clicked. “You wouldn’t happen to have a show at 5:30 tomorrow, would you?”
“That’s FIVE O’CLOCK” grins Ali McGregor.
“See you there.”
And so Ali and I had a lovely little chat about the carnie (carny?) lifestyle and support system, about different Fringe shows and personalities, about… stuff. She was utterly charming with a gorgeous smile, and as I wandered off to take my seat for Adam Hills, she said “Enjoy the show!”
“Which one?” I threw back, “Adam’s, or yours?”
There’s that grin again – “Oh, my show rocks,” and there’s a twinkle in her eye.
And so to Adam Hills. Not having seen him since 2000, I was staggered at how massive his fan-base is now. Then, he was playing to maybe 50 people in Nova 3; now, to a chock-a-block Thebby Theatre. And there’s a reason for that: he makes the audience feel good.
He opens the show with a bit of crowd fun – selecting an elderly couple from the front of the crowd and having them escorted to the royal box, then running to the back of the theatre to grab the people stuck in the worst seats and escorting them down to the vacant seats of the aforementioned elderly couple. Lovely – and considerate :)
He has a bit of fun with his Auslan Interpreter – which was reminiscent of his 2000 shows for me – before launching into a show about… well, nothing in particular, and laughter in general. If there was an underlying theme to the show, it was of eschewing absurd bureaucracy – but this rarely impacted the material. We were privy to the creation of a rather risqué “grey area” joke, a bit of tomfoolery with Banjo Paterson’s Clancy of the Overflow, and some dancing on the roof of cars. He introduced us to his artificial foot (wacko – you learn something new every day!), got a massive roar for thanking the Spicks and Specks fans, and closes the show out with a storming rendition of Advance Australia Fair – to the tune of Working Class Man.
Now, a few things have changed over the years; I remembered him as a very clean-tongued young chap; he’s got no problems letting fly with the four-lettered words now. But they’re rarely used in a rude way, more in the Billy Connolly-swearing-as-punctuation manner. See, the thing about Adam Hills is that he’s just plain funny. He doesn’t rely on sex or crudity for his material, it’s just… fun. Lots of fun.
I get a grin now just thinking back to the feeling of the show :)