Sunday 14 April 2024

When I Grow Up... review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

It's the age-old question: what do you want to be when you grow up? As a child, you might say doctor, teacher, police officer...but then there's also the kids that want to be famous, a rock star, an athlete or even a penguin. In Jeromaia Detto's comedy show When I Grow Up..., audience suggestions of what they wanted to be when they were children are played out on stage in an improvised hour of laughter.

It's evident from the second Detto appears in the room, he's here for a good time and that joy and sense of play spreads throughout the room. He's very talented at guiding the audience and letting them know what to do without putting them on the spot or placing any pressure on them. You're never uncertain of what your role is, and even if you are, Detto will find a way of incorporating that into the scene.

Because Detto gets a variety of audience replies to the statement "when I grow up...", each show is genuinely going to be different based on the suggestions in the bucket. On the evening attended, there were a few standard responses such as (sexy) librarian and actor, as well as some more unusual ones like a racecar driving author and a sedimentary rock (no judgement). It takes a few seconds for Detto's mind to spark an idea and start rummaging through the large collection of props on stage to set his scene. It's exciting to see his mind at work and try to ascertain what he is becoming based on the outfits and items chosen.

Creating a new show every night is a huge challenge, most performers have weeks or months to prepare their material and finesse all the parts that don't work. Not in When I Grow Up..., and while there are a couple of sketches that don't quite work, Detto's dedication to the craft, an awareness of when something isn't working and his constant risk taking are highly impressive and constantly go beyond our expectations.

I don't think anyone chooses to be an improvisor/clown when they are a kid but this is something Detto was born to do. His infectious positivity, quirky point of view and ability to find the humour in the smallest thing is very special and When I Grow Up... is on its way to also becoming a special kind of experience.


Venue: TIC Swanston, 37 Swanston St, Melbourne
 until 21 April | Fri - Sat 6pm, Sun 5pm
 50 minutes
 $28 Full | $25 Conc
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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