Comedy Review: Andy Balloch, The Motley Bauhaus, MICF 2024

Welcome to the madcap games in Andy Balloch's lounge room. Who will he be next?
Andy Balloch. Image is a head and shoulders shot of a quizzical/concerned looking white man with bleached blond hair, a green jacket over a white open necked shirt and a plastic skeletal hand on his shoulder.

Have you ever watched a Bell Shakespeare show and wondered what would become of the child actors? If they’re anything like Andy Balloch, who once played Macduff’s son in a production of the Scottish play, they will go on to be the centre of their own show about queerness, culture, counterculture and the ways we all kill time as we work through the intimations of our own mortality.

The premise of Killing Time was a games night in the house of Balloch. This became the launching pad for a series of sketches about prejudice, nostalgia, homophobia and the ticking time bomb that is the genetically inherited illness the comedian is set to inherit in the autumn of his life.

The show had impressive range for a story the backbone of which is the relationship between a gay child and his beloved grandmother, who died of the neurological condition aphasia. Using a sketch format, the character actor brought out some familiar favourites as well as some fresh innovations.

A source of particular pleasure for this reviewer was the blend of childhood poetry notebooks of a lyricist and the passion and stage presence of a pop star. The show’s off-the-wall zany sketches encompassed a range of personas and accents that surprised, delighted and showed the craft of a creative mind that has been culturally engaged since youth.

Read: Comedy review: Nina Conti, Your Face or Mine, The Capitol, MICF 2024

The show may have felt especially meaningful to a young queer audience, but for others there was still a lot to offer in this polished piece from a performer who has been nominated for awards including the Tour Ready Award, a Melbourne Comedy Festival Golden Gibbo and two Green Room Awards recognisinginnovative content in Australian performing arts. 

Andy Balloch: Killing Time was performed at The Motley Bauhaus 11-21 April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024).

Vanessa Francesca is a writer who has worked in independent theatre. Her work has appeared in The Age, The Australian and Meanjin