Tuesday 16 April 2024

Please Clap review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

There isn't much of a description for what Reuben Solo's Please Clap is going to be about, except that it is likely to be a frenzied, disorderly series of live sketch comedy. Which is as accurate as you can get for a show that even though has a structure in place, seems to make a lot of what we witness on the fly.

Solo begins the show strongly with some fun audience interactions which includes moving people around, introducing him to the stage and having one person give him the harshest insult they can - and boy, did he cop it on the night attended with the most brutal sledge you could give to a performer.

A number of sketches are performed where Solo incorporates interactions with the audience and whatever else might be happening in the room to stir the chaos pot. So, when a door seemingly opens, Solo goes and investigates, and don't even think about walking in late to this show without receiving some form of acknowledgement from Solo.

His sound tech, James McLennan, provides a variety of effects that aid - and hinder - Solo's routine and there is delight in seeing him having to take his intended routine into a completely different light. There's a lot of risk being had on stage, but unfortunately this doesn't always translate into funny results. Some of the acts go on too long and rely on repetitive behaviour to get laughter. There are a few times when audience members are called up to the stage and there doesn't seem to be clear instructions on what they should be doing, resulting in slightly awkward moments.

Despite its chaos focus and living-on-the-edge approach to live comedy, Please Clap is unable to lift itself up and stand out from the ocean of shows taking place at the festival this year. There's a few too many sketches that miss the mark, and a reassessment of when and how to end them, as well as when and how to bring in audience participation would do wonders in strengthening this show.


Venue: Motley Bauhaus, 118 Elgin St, Carlton
 until 21 April | 6pm
 60 minutes
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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