Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Welcome to the Freak Show

Welcome to the Freak Show is musical comedian Darren Freak’s first outing in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Originally from Adelaide, part of his show is commenting on his life in Melbourne since moving here two years ago, as well as some spoken word sections revolving around his family and childhood in Adelaide.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Welcome to the Freak Show
Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Welcome to the Freak Show Welcome to the Freak Show is musical comedian Darren Freak’s first outing in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Originally from Adelaide, part of his show is commenting on his life in Melbourne since moving here two years ago, as well as some spoken word sections revolving around his family and childhood in Adelaide. One of his strongest songs was about listening to people who call in on talkback radio. His string of I’m not a [something] BUT quotes came together well. Other highlights include a love song gone horribly wrong, as well as a song about airline safety – or the lack thereof. His set also included a brutally honest little ditty that he was hoping to send to tourism Victoria to try and inject a little more business into the economy. Darren did garner a lot of laughs from a receptive audience. One aspect that he falls down on, which prevails throughout the show, is a lack of confidence in standing by his material. Let’s be honest, a lot of his material is low-brow – punchy and occasionally well crafted – but still low-brow. A bit of cockiness is needed for this type of humour, for it to be delivered with the middle finger sticking decidedly up. I can understand why it may be hard for him to bridge that gap. The opening of the show has Freak being disarmingly truthful. He sings a song warning the audience that his guitar skills may be lacking, how he may every now and then forget a lyric. And instead of disguising the small venue in Misty bar on Hosier Lane, he points it out to the audience, asking them to participate in some group photography. He is obviously savouring the experience, while delivering with songs about the fears and prejudices of the white middle class. But it’s that confidence again; if you’re going to make fun of the middle-class, it’s hard to try and be friends with them at the same time. With a name like Darren Freak, he can afford to cultivate more of a character that he can attach these songs to. Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Welcome to the Freak Show Plays at Misty at 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday, until the 12th of April.

Samantha Wilson

Tuesday 7 April, 2009

About the author

Samantha Wilson is a freelance writer and poet. She also co-founded SNAFU Theatre, and has directed all eight of its productions, including Month of Sundays (2007), The Beginning of the End (2008), and both the Melbourne and Edinburgh Fringe seasons of Murder at Warrabah House (2011).