Sunday, October 24, 2010

Messing Around in London, Adam Hills Style

I love living in London, but there are some things I really miss about Australia: Rockwiz, Talking About your Generation, City Homicide, GNW, Spicks and Specks. So whenever I hear of Australians coming to do live shows here in the UK, I tend to get very excited.

Now, while the idea of watching 'Alf from Home and Away' strut his stuff in Priscilla: The Musical is tempting, this week, I chose instead to see Adam Hills' comedy show Mess Around at the Soho Theatre. Mess Around had a season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year, but was sold out before the festival had even started, much to my disappointment. To make up for this, I've since seen the show three times in the UK. That's not as weird and stalkerish as it might sound because let me explain something about Mess Around. It's based on the premise, as Adam explains at the beginning of the show, that his banters with audience members at the start of his stand-up shows are inevitably funnier and more entertaining than any prepared stuff. What's more, his theory is that everyday people will always be more interesting than any celebrity. Therefore, he has based this entire show on off-the-cuff chats.

One of my favourite moments comes from the Edinburgh season in August this year where, upon enquiring as to why a particular blonde woman had dyed her entire fringe bright blue, we received the following response: it's so my husband can find me in the carpark. She went on to add that they own a silver car, which is apparently a common colour for a car. As you can imagine, every show is likely to be completely different and unpredictable. So far, I haven't once been disappointed.

Tonight, I was at the final show of the London season. The audience members who participated were hilarious, in such a natural and effortless way. Adam never once makes them look or feel bad, which is so crucial with any audience participation. One woman had travelled all the way from Oslo with her husband just to see this show, and as it was her husband's 30th birthday (he's German), we all sang Happy Birthday to him in a German accent (because we couldn't actually sing it in German).

To drive his point home about everyday people being more interesting than famous people, the show always ends with Adam recounting his encounter with who, he claims, to be the most interesting person he's ever met - a pizza shop owner from near Bacchus Marsh in Victoria. For me to re-tell the story here would do it injustice, but let me say this: it involves a Greek-Italian-Australian accent that will make any expat yearn for a souvlaki and Vince Colosimo.

If you want to get a taste of what actually happens at these shows, it's worth checking out Adam Hills' blog, in which he writes about every one of his shows and the people whom he meets.

Adam Hills, it's been such a pleasure. Please come back to London soon.


  1. Sounds great. I need to come to London. Miss you Bee!! Katharine xx

  2. I'm fascinated by people who can do wonderful off the cuff stuff like that.We are off to Mamma Mia Murder Mystery this weekend and a Comedy Store the next. So much more traditonal but fun.
    People are starting to recount old wives' tales about whether it will be a white xmas here. It seems to be 50/50 but I'm optimistic.
    Cheers Gillian