top of page

Review: Christopher Hall: Self Helpless at Gluttony - The Squeaker - ADL Fringe

Review by Carly Fisher


As one of the few Gen Y’ers left on planet earth without an active tiktok account, I was new to Christopher Hall, his comedy and, as I now know, the viral fame and following that he has built of late in response to videos of him and his sister back up dancing to songs by all of the world’s greatest pop stars. 


Now that I know the name though, and have caught up on the fabulous videos put out by the dancing duo (I had quite a binge watch session on instagram last night after the show), I’m only sorry I wasn’t onto it sooner. Christopher Hall is a dynamic performer that has an ease and a charm in front of his audiences that is quite exhilarating to watch. And the reason why, is simple - Hall has an expert command of showmanship that exceeds that of many others in the stand up genre. 


This show, Self Helpless, is a continuation of the show that Hall performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and that he now tours Australia with. The premise is simple and the narrative loose and whilst most of the show that works to Hall’s advantage, there are definitely some lulls that could be tightened. Despite this, its quickly easy to forgive these occasional drops in pace because they are usually on the back of a complete tangent that Hall has gone on - escaping the rigidness of a script and diving head first into audience participation instead. 


Hall has one of the strongest commands of crowd work I have seen by a comedian in a long time. He chats, he questions, he engages but what is really impressive is that he really listens and retains - enough that he confidently returns to those in the crowd he has spoken to throughout the remainder of the show, tailoring stories and jokes to suit them. This is a skill that Hall executes to perfection and the show is even more enjoyable to watch as a result. 


The night I was there, Hall chatted with the front row’s worth of men who all belonged to the same Gay Running Group and a few women towards the back who were friends from a book club (that has since given up on actually reading books and focuses instead now on the socialising). These interactions were laced with jokes and personal anecdotes - like stories of his sister reading books for his mother before she went to book clubs, etc - that were off the cuff and so entertaining because you could see his real skill as a comedian at work. 


The open air Squeaker theatre at Gluttony is a very unique performance venue - a stage made out of a shipping container inside an area of the park that is usually a nurf gun arena. Its a cute space that though large and open somehow, in the hands of Hall, felt intimate and personal. I wish that there was better front lighting to support the performer - Hall was in the dark for a lot of the show. I loved how much Hall USED that stage - this is not a performer with a mic who is going to stand on the spot and chat to you for 60 minutes. Hall is working that space, making every inch of it his own - something hard to do in a fringe space like this where its not your staging, but something that really allows talented performers like this to truly stand out. 


As soon as I learned more about Hall’s videos, instantly I was very disappointed that there wasn’t more reference to them in the show. This seems like a large thing to miss when it appeared that so many in the audience were there because of his back up singer video fame. I would have loved him either to incorporate some element of this into his performance, or even just a video really if that is all that was available - but something! Chris’ sister…we need you to come on tour next year to Australia too please! 


Some absolutely hilarious lines about Disney Adults and toy story 4, passionate responses to Hocus Pocus 2, confusion about the concept of Guncle, purple hockey costumes and rugby rehearsals, great anecdotes about his family, his life and his coming out experience and more, made for a great night out at Fringe. 


You’ve got a new fan in me on the back of last night’s show Chris…and another instagram follower. 


Image Supplied

Comments


bottom of page