Review by Stephanie Lee
If you’re looking for a way to laugh the pain of your worst nightmares away, then look no further than this incredibly funny musical/comedy performance. Callum Straford’s Your Best Worst Nightmares performed at The Butterfly Club is filled with witty punchlines and well-crafted laughs that leaves the audience constantly chuckling throughout the entire 60 minutes of the show. It truly covers all its bases with nightmares ranging from mumbling because you don’t know the lyrics at karaoke, to not recognising your mum on the street.
Making use of a piano and ukulele, Callum sings and acts his way through several hilarious sketches. Within the hour he manages to impersonate God, give a ‘how to attend a party’ tutorial, lead a very funny meditation and read a story about animals in a share house living arrangement.
Assisted by great live tech, many of the lighting and sound cues help put the icing on the cake of an already well-crafted performance. Some of the funniest sketches in the show play out as a back-and-forth dialogue between Callum and pre-recorded voice overs. For example, the talkback radio sketch with pre-recorded caller snippets is timed so well it feels like a real awkward radio caller exchange is happening live, which greatly heightens the humour of the sketch.
The dramatic lighting sequences also add another layer to the comedy, especially when on cue with the punchlines, which happened frequently throughout the performance. Most notable was the sudden flash to red lighting when Callum describes how he can be ‘dramatic’. However, the main star of the whole performance has to be Callum’s incredible sense for comedic timing. Every time I thought the show couldn’t get any funnier, it did, and it continued to pleasantly surprise the entire way through.
Despite Callum’s show relying quite heavily on technical support for many of the jokes and sketches, some of his best work is in his musical numbers. A true triumph of his comedic genius is the song about musicians that take too long to introduce their next song at a concert, which plays out exactly like what the song title describes. Even though the audience knows that Callum will likely just start another spiel introducing the song right before the music sounds as if the song will start, the joke somehow does not get old for the four or five times in a row that it happens.
There are so many moments of gold in this performance worth mentioning, but a few that stand out are the opening number listing all your worst nightmares, a very relatable song about sleep deprivation, and the stand-up segment which ends with photos of Lord Farquaad from Shrek.
Honestly from start to finish Your Best Worst Nightmares is a whirlwind of comedy and laughter. Callum has such a refined comedic delivery, and his sketches are creative and heaps of fun to watch. This show is deserving of so much praise and I really hope to see Callum Straford again in the near future with another theatrical, musical comedy spectacular!