By Nicola Bennett
Dave “Hughesy” Hughes has been a comedic presence in the industry for over 20 years, and demonstrates his well-honed skill set in this year’s show “Hairy”. The focus points throughout the show are as extensive as his new hair-do, which requires ongoing readjustment throughout his one hour stand-up show. Thankfully for audiences, his comedy performance is much more controlled than his new locks as he skilfully traverses topics relating to his family life, professional experiences and wider society. There’s something of interest for every audience in this show, and despite the breadth of topics covered, the show somehow still feels cohesive for viewers.
Hughesy’s reputation may proceed him in Australian entertainment, however it is still reassuring as an audience to witness the high standard performance we are promised. Carrying such a stoic reputation within Australian comedy surely brings sufficient pressure with it. Watching Hughesy go about his comedic business however is an opportunity to see how a veteran of the comedy festival scene rises to that challenge, and where we see him handle that incessant expectation with calmness and skilful control. This relaxed persona effectively conceals the hard work that no doubt will have been put into this routine, and projects an effortlessness that is a testimony to his experience. It is easy and reliable viewing as a comedy consumer, and it’s frankly a welcome experience to observe comedy that is comfortably unfazed by its audience’s expectations.
A slightly meandering approach in the middle of the show was less than ideal, particularly when you know the full capacity of the performer. But although this short period of an otherwise solid hour lacked some pace compared to Hughesy in full flight, it is worth sticking with him for when he eventually kicked it up a comedic gear. That’s when we see the true blue Hughesy magic really come to play and the audience fully relaxes into what they’ve come to see.
Watching Hughesy in a stand-up format offers a rewarding evening of entertainment. The familiar face combined with a deadpan style of humour we’ve come to know and love from him provides audiences with a reliable and satisfying local choice during this comedy festival.
Treat yourselves and catch Dave Hughes at the MICF until Sunday 21st of April.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.