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Review: Tom Ballard: Enough at Melbourne Town Hall's Supper Room

By Flora Norton

Tom Ballard’s ‘Enough’ is an example of stand-up comedy at its most honest, self-aware and vulnerable. Ballard has complete command of the stage and his audience as he gives us a self-deprecating and critical reflection on his career and world-view.

Admitting to both his privilege and his short-comings, Ballard builds a camaraderie with the audience, creating a forgiving crowd that are as happy to be mocked themselves as they are to laugh at Ballard.

Ballard’s comedy is engaging because it is also deeply personal, and he opens up confidently about his sexuality, wealth, mental health and political beliefs. Despite emphatically discussing the depressing state of the world and his unhealthy and lonely lifestyle, Ballard’s cheeky grin and boyish energy keep the mood jovial and light-hearted.

But Ballard’s criticism does not stop at himself and he does not shy away from controversy. He is deeply scathing of politicians and his former employers at the ABC and unashamedly calls them out on their bigoted views, unappealing personalities and of course, their ugly faces.

Ballard toes the line of ‘too far,’ unapologetically branding all catholic priests as paedophiles and joking about a tragic accident in a Brisbane theme park. He skilfully builds tension and discomfort in the room before releasing it with a well-crafted punchline – keeping the audience exasperated and laughing in-spite of themselves.

A joke falling flat does not deter Ballard either and he is just as comfortable to ask the room with mock-concern, ‘too soon? Brisbane thought so’ as he is to call us out on our righteousness and tell us to stop pretending that we’re any better than he is.

Ballard’s comedy is clever at times, and charmingly childish at others as he flits seamlessly between calling Scomo a ‘c**t’ and waving his bottom at the audience joking about farts induced by capitalism.

Ballard spends most of the show building our trust as he describes himself as an ordinary millennial plagued by poor lifestyle choices and his struggle to find rental accommodation. He rants about homeowners and mocks baby boomers, encouraging them to ‘die already’ and open up the property market. His criticism of rental real-estate agents is witty and relatable and has all the young people in the audience in stitches.

At this point his show takes a briefly serious turn as he angrily criticizes our capitalist society and condemns the system in which the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. So, while it feels like a betrayal when he confesses, only half-apologetically, to having bought an apartment worth north of $900,000, he has the audience on side as he admits to being a perfect example of a privileged millennial made rich by luck. This final gag brings the house down for what has been an excellent hour of comedy.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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