An Elephant in the Room
John Legg @ Directors Hotel
5:00pm, Fri 28 Feb 2014
It’s the official Opening Night of the Festival, and the associated fancy shindigs (I made a point of turning up to the VIP opening of the Festival in my usual shabby I’ve-got-another-four-shows-to-see clothes, but that’s another story) meant that time was tight this evening; so a short-run comedy show at 5pm fit the bill nicely, even if it was on at the Directors.
But every time I’ve been to the Directors in the past, the show has been held upstairs… so I grabbed a beer and took a seat near the bottom of the stairs, expecting the show to be called at any moment. A few other people were milling around down there too, so I just figured that it was going to be a light crowd; but, with five minutes to go before the alleged starting time, no-one had opened the door to the stairwell. I checked with the bar-guy: there’s no show upstairs, he informed me, it’s out the back of Directors instead.
By the time I found the room at the rear of the hotel, it was nearly full… and I was, with the exception of some pre-teens sullenly sitting with their parents, the youngest person in the room. I found a seat (which had recently been a footstool) and, no sooner than I settled in, John Legg took to the stage with his double bass (and head-worn wireless microphone).
Legg – or Wee Leggie, as he likes to refer to himself – is a spritely silvertop, and targets his material squarely at those in his own age group. He pokes fun at incontinence, urges the parents in the room to spend their children’s inheritance, and even makes some half-hearted attempts at ribaldry. There’s some curious jokes about naked bushwalking, too, as well as some slightly darker bits on heartbreak and death.
And the material was… fine, I guess. A smile here, a chuckle there – that’s okay by me.
But the problem is that he delivers half his jokes through song – it is a cabaret show, after all. And, whilst he is clearly a competent bassist, he often seemed to be playing bass-lines that were at odds with the tune he was singing, creating a dissonance that the humour wasn’t able to overcome.
Not that the rest of the crowd seemed to mind: there were plenty of audible guffaws and hearty congratulations (following the singalong) at the end of the show for Wee Leggie. And, to be fair, this audience probably wouldn’t find the humour in any of the surrealists (or profane rants, or filthy innuendo-laced cattiness) that I love… but it’s fair to say that An Elephant in the Room is certainly not the type of cabaret/comedy I’ll be settling for in my later years.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 28, 2014