NOB HAPPY SOCK
Simon Keck @ The Producers Bar
7:30pm, Sat 15 Feb 2014
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for people who are willing to talk about depression. I’d never be so disrespectful to say that I suffer from depression myself – though I would (like everyone else, I suspect) say that my lows are much lower for much longer than they should be – but there’s something immediately identifiable about the topic.
Adding suicide to the discussion ups the ante a little, and guaranteed NOB HAPPY SOCK an early berth.
Simon Keck appears on a simple stage (there’s just a fridge and some fridge magnets to accompany him) wearing just a pair of pyjamas; he immediately launches into a story about how he shit himself in the schoolyard as a youngster. It’s a bold – and hilariously told – opener, but it lays the groundwork for two of Keck’s biggest personal problems: his inability to ask for help, and his divine ability to make Bad Jokes to cover up Bad Things.
Both these issues permeate all the stories that follow: from the soul- (and liver-) destroying job he once held, through to the joy of being paid to do something he loves, thence back to the crushing weight of emotionally-empty employment. When his depression becomes more evident, it is totally identifiable to me – it’s something that I face for maybe nine months of the year – but the impact of its darkness on Keck is… well, scary. Terrifying.
And, eventually, suicide is considered. The title of the show is described in almost offensively lurid detail within the darkest moments of the performance, and provides one of the most guilty laughs I think I’ve ever experienced. Clearly, Keck’s suicide attempt is unsuccessful, leading to another moment of disbelief and almost sacrilegious laughter… and tears of sheer delight, wrapped up with one of the most poignant and dryly bitter songs ever written.
I absolutely loved NOB HAPPY SOCK. I’ve probably used the world a zillion times in the preceding paragraphs, but it was so identifiable and funny and tender and beautiful that it makes my heart ache a little just thinking about it. I’m normally a little self-conscious when proclaiming a show in the Comedy section as the go-to show in the Fringe; but, as of right now, NOB HAPPY SOCK is (or, rather, was – its season is over) easily the best show in the Fringe, and recommended to everyone. It’s a remarkably refined performance of a script that is so amazingly polished that it simply gleams. I’m stoked that it picked up a Weekly Fringe Award; it deserves many, many, many more plaudits.
Also: I Am Gorgeous. See the show, and you’ll know what I mean.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 15, 2014