Comedy review: Reuben Kaye, Apocalipstik, The Malthouse, MICF 2024

A force of deliciously bent nature, Kaye delivers again.
Reuben Kaye. Man with huge open mouthed lipsticked smile and extravagant eyelashes is under a striated spotlight.

It seems almost impossible to give Reuben Kaye anything but a five-star review these days. His star power is so complete and immense that, by the sheer force of his personality, you simply can’t take your eyes off him. And that spellbinding presence can sometimes overshadow your appreciation of the depth of the writing and his skill at execution. Or the expertly calibrated time allotted to both the songs and the spiel.

It’s not clear whether he has a prodigious memory for lines or is simply able to improvise with the sort of articulation and perfect sentence construction not seen in Melbourne outside of the extraordinary eloquence of an Evening With Stephen Fry performance. Only Kaye does it with a much, much filthier mouth, of course.

As the title suggests, Apocalipstik is inspired by the doom and gloom surrounding us, but also focuses on the life story of Kaye’s uncle, Helmut, a fascinating character from East Germany, who wanted to escape, but… oh look we’ll let Kaye tell it. He’s the only performer in town who could possibly do it justice.

Read: Comedy review: Catherine Bohart, Again, With Feelings, The Westin Three, MICF

Tickets: $54.90-$59.90

Reuben Kaye, Apocalipstik will be performed at Merlyn Theatre at the Malthouse until 21 April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024).

Madeleine Swain is ArtsHub’s managing editor. Originally from England where she trained as an actor, she has over 25 years’ experience as a writer, editor and film reviewer in print, television, radio and online. She is also currently Vice Chair of JOY Media.