Kevin Peterson is the new kid on the stand-up comedy block with his new show opening at The Butterfly Club. He's young, likeable and has the boy next door charm, but he's barely into his set when he is hit with a severe anxiety attack and becomes lost in his own distressing thoughts. Fortunately, this is not real life but the synopsis for Kevin Peterson’s Stand Up Show.
Written and directed by Max Paton, the show is a comedic and surreal look at what happens inside the mind of a man when he is struck with anxiety. Paton finds clever and intriguing ways in exploring Kevin's emotional and mental state and illustrates this brilliantly on stage. A constant highlight is seeing how the material from Kevin's stand-up routine, including "jokes" about Chris Hemsworth and platypus, is then referenced and used during his existential nightmare.
The lighting by John Collopy increasingly adds to Kevin's isolation and the pressure that he is experiencing. His strobe lighting is very effective in heightening Kevin's disorientation and when paired with the jarring sound design by Philip Dallas during those scenes, you certainly gain an understanding of what it's like to go through this. At other times, Dallas' sound serves as a subtle backdrop that reinforces the moods and tones of the scenes.
However, the conversations that Kevin has with the other "characters" do become somewhat repetitive and there are others that don't offer much information or insight as to how he got to this point or why he feels this way. The ending also comes across as very rushed and wraps up way too cheerily. Sticking with the darker undertones that the show establishes would be a better suited conclusion and feel like it has been earned.
Fraser Mitchell as Kevin portrays his insecurities and deterioration of his mental health well although scenes dealing with his intense anger are slightly out of place. It's not always necessary to have someone shouting into space and throwing items across the room to express this type of emotion. The supporting cast of Catherine Holder, Daniel Hurst, Isabella Octigan and Stuart Anderson do well with the variety of characters they play, from the genuine and realistic ones to the show's more eccentric creations.
Discussing mental health doesn't need to be serious and depressing. In Kevin Peterson’s Stand Up Show, Paton shows a clear awareness of seeing the humour in describing what it's like to live with anxiety. With some adjustments to the story, this show has the potential to wear its heart on its sleeve and also connect with its audience on a deeper level.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: until 27 July | 7.00pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $31 Conc
Bookings: The Butterfly Club
Image Credit: Julia Kaddatz