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Review: Alister Kingsley is Getting it Together at The Butterfly Club

Review by Liz Baldwin

Alister Kingsley delivers a funny, imaginative night of musical comedy in his solo show Get It Together. In a tight 45-minute set at Melbourne’s Butterfly Club, Kinglsey explores the nooks and crannies of daily life – from rage at his girlfriend’s incessantly yapping dog to the challenges of YouTube instructional videos.

This comedy is observational, not aggressive; banal, not political – finding humour in the absurdity of daily life. It’s reminiscent of early Tim Minchin, though that’s a comparison Kingsley is probably far too keenly aware of – lamenting a disruption in his sock supply chain, he observes that going barefoot would be “bitchin’” but he already plays piano, so “I’d look too much like Tim Minchin”.

Clever rhymes and wordplay were a strength of the show. A standout song was “Reading Strangers’ Texts on the Train”, a fun doo-wop style song about the voyeuristic thrills – and perils – of reading other people’s texts. The pay-off, after the song carefully builds it premise, is worthwhile, and recorded backing vocals are used to great effect.

Audience participation was also done well. A simple call and response number early in the set warmed us up to sing the refrain for another highlight, a seemingly saccharine love song, later on. A simple but funny pun drives the song, and the audience’s hesitant but persistent chorus, as the punchline dawns, only deepened the joke.

Kingsley switches between piano and standing mic, breaking up longer songs with short verses and stand-up bits. This pacing worked well; the show felt tight and didn’t drag. But, while individually enjoyable, the pieces felt more like a random collection of asides than part of a coherent theme. The show’s premise – “an organisationally challenged person in recovery” – gets just a few passing references. A stronger throughline could have given the show more internal momentum.

Kingsley’s performance felt natural and open, and his obvious enjoyment of the work is infectious. He is at his best when performing as himself, rather than adopting other personas – funny songs about socks and life as a children’s entertainer are held back by a rather jarring, and ineffective, character change. In contrast, the one genuinely sincere piece, an understated and gracious song about having two Santas (‘thanks for eating all of those cookies’), was believable and added some unexpected depth to the set.

Alister Kingsley has put together a funny and skilful show – one to watch.

Image Supplied


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