Comedy only gets better and better
By Bradley Storer
Comedian Nath Valvo takes to the stage of his Melbourne International Comedy Festival show and informs us of two things – one, that he is (no surprise, considering the title) coming close to the age of thirty. Number two, that in twenty-nine years he has never had an actual happy birthday. We are then led on tour through the horrific highlights of Valvo’s celebratory tragedies, cringing and stricken with shocked laughter in equal measures.
Valvo has surprisingly lost some of the merciless ferocity which characterized his previous shows but this softer approach actually magnifies the effect of his material and helps garner audience sympathy more. Nevertheless, Valvo retains his razor-sharp wit and willingness to push the boundaries of taste which makes this show just as funny (if not more so) than previous offerings.
Beginning in the comedian’s childhood, the show offers many jovial memories for children of the nineties (the use of specific songs to represent each year bringing back many chuckles of recognition). Clever structuring ensures the show doesn’t drag, and Valvo finds several ways to enter the audience and bring members up onstage, including teaching some lucky people the fine art of dancing to dubstep. One particular moment, involving a couple and a wacky game-show style questionnaire, drew dangerously close to crossing the line in terms of how far a comedian can push their audience – Valvo has enough stage charisma to make it work, but I still found myself on edge for some of the wrong reasons.
This one moment aside, this is a fantastic offering from a rising comedic star, whose abilities and ingenuity seem to grow by leaps and bounds with every new show. Blending delicacy and boldness, Valvo ties together the narrative with a finale that is surprisingly touching and sends you out with a smile on your face.
DATES: 28th March – 21st April
TIME: 9:30pm (8:30 Sunday)
VENUE: Trades Hall, The Annexe, Corner of Lygon and Victoria St, Carlton
TICKETS: Full Wed – Sat $20, Conc Wed – Sat $17, Sun $15, Tightarse Tuesday $15, Group (5+) $15