Review By Rosie Niven
Tim Dunk was made in a laboratory by scientists. He’s still there, being experimented on. However, he’s been let out for two nights only to take on the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival with his first solo show, Heaven For Worms (for people). If successful, he’ll be freed for good. That’s pretty high stakes for a comedy show.
Introduced by the dry and delightfully sharp Levi Meltzer as The Scientist, the audience is invited into a chaotic journey of three characters as they compete to be freed from the lab for good. Each of the characters explodes onto the stage to take the mic: the socially inept comedy lover with an obsession for comedian Pete Holmes and HBO’s Crashing, the hyper-masculine sports fan who’s convinced he’ll be the next baseball superstar, and the arrogant and self-indulged writer with a penchant for ice cream. With each individual we are introduced to, it feels as if we are witnessing elements of Dunk that he is trying to resolve within himself, and as it all comes to a peak, the lines are blurred between identities and we witness a little death (well, quite a big and dramatic death, really) of all of them on stage.
Heaven For Worms (for people) is filled with clever, niche references that really resonated with those that understood them. Unfortunately for a significant portion of the audience, what appeared to be carefully crafted jokes and commentary were lost in the chaos, or simply went above our heads. With further work on developing the clarity of characters and narrative, these references would really be given a chance to shine.
The most disappointing part of Heaven for Worms (for people) is that there are not enough worms. In fact, there is not a single worm in this entire show. Honestly - for a show whose title revolves around these little dirt creatures, I thought I was walking into a fun yet educational stand up set about worms. I thought I would learn about the ideal worm heaven. I was disappointed. However, in place of the worms, Dunk gives us a vibrant hour of character comedy and audience interaction that keeps you on your toes at every moment, never able to predict what will come next.
This is Dunk’s first solo show, and judging by the audience response, this will not be his last. I am certain that he will only continue to come into his own, and bring creative and unique perspectives to the Sydney comedy scene. Hopefully with some extra worms next time.