Review by Taylor Kendal
With the multitude of things in life that one can find humour in, admittedly the first thing that comes to mind certainly isn’t death. In fact, it almost seems in bad taste to ever consider finding anything funny about it. And yet emerging comedian Kaine Hansen has found a way to do so with his debut comedy show, Wonderwall.
Set in the intimate and eclectic upstairs space of the Fad Gallery, Wonderwall is quite the ride from start to finish and frankly, it takes no survivors. A frank and at times brutally honest journey through one of life’s biggest taboo topics; death. Yet despite the seemingly morose topic, it is done with brazen wit and comedic talent that has the audience laughing before a single word is even uttered.
Formally of the theatre collective Pony Cam, Hansen is stepping out on his own with this 45 minute one man musical spectacular, armed only with his guitar, his almost unbelievable real life anecdotes, and his talent for taking something unmentionable and turning it into something strangely identifiable. Hansen makes it very clear early on that the show is entirely about death, having survived three unfathomable near-death experiences within 18 months, his outlook on the notion of death changed rather dramatically, and thus set forth this journey to create an incredibly unique, honest and often quite confronting piece of art.
Gifted with incredible comedic talent and a skill for song writing, as well as a cheeky grin and a stage presence that is utterly commanding, Hansen is certainly a star on the rise. The ability to take a topic that we as a society often avoids or ignores is quite risky, and yet it is delivered with finesse and made to be not only incredibly funny, but also quite confronting, and has the audience members truly thinking about things. There are moments where you find yourself questioning whether you should really be laughing at this kind of thing, but if you can’t laugh, what else have you got?
Wonderwall has it all. An incredible and surprising entrance that one can only describe as Grim Reaper meets devout Monk; the promise that an audience member is going to die; talk of sexy maggots and laughing death in the face – literally -, and the question that I know I ponder each and every morning; do angels have nipples?
As well as his talents as a comedian and a storyteller, Hansen is blessed with the gift of music and song writing. There are 8 incredibly hilarious songs that aide the progression of the show in a variety of styles that fit so seamlessly in the story and are so ingenious in their structure and performance, even with some questionable yet hilarious subject matter.
While the overall show is filled with hilarity, there are some truly confronting moments, and mentions of sexual references, mental health and suicide attempts. But the way that it is all approached with such honesty and some dark, humour that is in such bad taste but oh so right, it is dealt with honestly and in a way that makes it all almost approachable.
It is honestly safe to say that Kaine Hansen is a name to look out for, already armed with skills of a seasoned performer and a lot to offer the world of art and comedy. There is so much I could discuss and get into, but where’s the fun in that when you can see it for yourself? Wonderwall is playing until April 17 as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and trust me – my words do not do justice. Get out and see it for yourself, it’s a show to die for!