Clever and charismatic fun
By Jessica Cornish
Charlie Pickering’s How To Tame A Wild Squirrel is showing for just one more Thursday evening at the Comedy Theatre as part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
In his first stand-up show for several years, Charlie easily and amusingly interacted with his audience, and did especially well dealing with the influx of latecomers. He cleverly weaved their stories into one another, managing to keep his audience entertained rather than annoyed at the general lack of punctuality.
Admittedly, his show wasn’t exactly what I expected, knowing him principally as I do for his television work. I wasn’t quite prepared for the moderate use of expletives that would just appear in and out of dialogue, for example. I know comedians generally love to throw in an f-bomb, but in my mind, news reporter Charlie Pickering would be a bit different!
The show included an appealing mixture of personal narratives and broader observations, specifically around the themes of racism and the fickle beast that is the internet. He comically explored how it has changed all our lives drastically- sometimes for the better and at times for the worse. He also threw in some vivid and impressive voice impersonations, switching effortlessly through a myriad of news character personas which were thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd. Whilst there was a loose theme running through the show, he would sometimes lose focus and saddle up onto another topic before the other had been resolved, which felt occasionally disconcerting.
Under his sway, the theatre had a warm intimate feel to it and Charlie seemed very comfortable in the performance space, moving extensively across the stage. He definitely would have benefited from using a hands-free mic however, as a couple of times he came close to stumbling on the long cord wrapped around his foot, and turning his sharp witty comedy into slapstick!
His show wrap-up was a highlight, with hilarious stories bordering on the absurd. In fact the whole row in which I was sitting broke out in uproarious laughter, and it seemed a shame to be so suddenly ending as the hour came by. How To Tame A Wild Squirrel is well worth a peek at Pickering in person, to get a different perspective of the well-known TV entertainer back to his roots as a stand-up solo comic.
DATE: Thursday 14 April
VENUE: The Comedy Theatre
ADDRESS: 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne