By Anja Bless
Kevin Peterson’s Stand Up Show is a comedy show gone wrong, where your worst fears of stage fright are manifested on stage in a manic fever dream. It’s raw, funny and leaves you expecting the unexpected.
Currently showing at The Butterfly Club, Kevin Peterson’s Stand Up Show is written and directed by Max Paton. Jumping from a derailing stand up show to a panic attack manifested on stage, this show is a whirlwind of laughs and touching moments of vulnerability.
The clever costume changes, handled with relative effortlessness by the ensemble cast, transport the audience along with Kevin through the deep and often disturbed recesses of his consciousness. The show teeters between reality and the absurd, making for some hilarious moments that only the depths of imagination could produce.
The floating faces of the famous Chris’ (Hemsworth, Evans etc.) are a delight to see appear, and are extremely effective in emphasising the dreamscape of the play whilst also creating a hilarious image on stage for the audience.
Lighting (by John Collopy) and sound (by Philip Dallas) help to carry the audience through the many transitions. Although, at times it was sensory overload to the point of being uncomfortable, often with barely enough time for respite before reaching crescendo once more.
The supporting cast too, assist with maintaining a narrative through the chaos, each having beautiful comic moments in their own right. The lead as Kevin is endearing, infuriating and with great comic timing all at once. His performance is convincing in Kevin’s awkwardness and touching in his most vulnerable moments.
The enthusiasm of the cast is a joy to watch, although at times it is mistranslated towards chaos as Kevin’s mind progressively deteriorates and rebuilds. The show could have done with some quieter moments, not all madness or anxiety is loud. One example of this was the beautiful scene where Kevin describes a powerful story he read in a manga book. The audience was enraptured and the crux of the show’s message, beautifully evoked.
While the description of the show, and the opening quarter, may have the audience thinking that this is ‘write what you know’ taken a step too far, the piece is clever in toeing the line. In the end, the show is a poignant reminder of the trials of creativity, identity and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It shows how toxic and how constructive our own mind can be, and that often we are our own biggest critic.
The setting of The Butterfly Club is all the more suitable, a comedy club hidden away through a labyrinth of corridors and colourful rooms. Like Kevin, the audience takes a journey of twists and turns, many of which are confronting (at times too much so), but heartening in the end. A reminder of the importance of remembering who your friends are, and that it’s okay to not entirely know who you will be.
Photo Credit: Julia Kaddatz
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.