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Review: Virtuoso at the Laugh Lounge - ADL Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford 

Every Fringe Festival, there’s a show that comes along that embodies the spirit of what Fringe is all about; chaos, comedy, intense audience participation, and a highly skilled performer with some unhinged content. Virtuoso is that show at this year’s Adelaide Fringe. 

The show’s premise is hilarious, and the equally hilarious poster attracted me to go and see it. The one-man show is about Tobias Finlay-Fraser, who is the “greatest actor of his generation”, and here in this venue to audition for a film. The audience are his panel, and over the hour-long show, Tobias does everything in his power to convince us that he is the perfect actor for this part, and that he is a man of many many skills. 

Tobias is played by Casey Filips, who is magnetic and stupidly funny in this show. It is so impressive to watch him bound around the space; through and around the audience, and do pretty much anything to get a laugh. There’s a fair bit of audience participation for two people in the crowd, and the people who were hand-picked on the night I went were game and up for the task; with one even being instructed to perform a secret talent and whipping out a very athletic handstand, much to the crowd’s delight. 

The show’s structure and writing is clear, funny, and clever. The audition process relies on common tropes that the audience seemed very familiar with, but when it detoured into the absurd, it was clear the audience were truly on board and ready for whatever chaos was coming next. 

The deviation I refer to is a solid five to ten minute chunk of the show where we’re treated to a snapshot of one of Tobias’ best-known roles as a female manatee (yes, I’m serious). He pulled a sweet man named Marseille out of the audience to be his male manatee co-partner, and the pair performed a weirdly sweet, semi-improvised physical theatre piece. It was this level of silliness that really made the show sing and made the audience cackle with laughter. 

The show’s finale, which featured a hilarious Oscars segment that showcased Tobias’ illustrious career post-audition, was the cherry on top of an absolutely stupid and hilarious show. Don’t miss it if you’re a fan of absurdism and have an appreciation for chaos - Casey will have you in very safe comedy hands. 

Image Supplied


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