Taylor Griffiths’ solo sketch show, No Thoughts, is similar to a ‘walking tour’ of Melbourne, led by a broke and bored comedian, instead of the usual cheery tour guide. The show follows Griffiths desperately trying to enjoy her day off in the city. Her efforts are disrupted, however, by unexpected encounters with eccentric characters along the way. Like onlookers observing private conversations carried out in public, audience members catch a glimpse of the lives of Melburnians through these characters. They touch upon themes of experiencing joy un-ironically, being embarrassed around adult clubs, and more.
No Thoughts moves between Griffiths narrating in the first person and performing short sketches featuring the characters she meets. The smooth and quick transitions between these elements, combined with the use of multimedia, makes for a well-designed and uniquely structured show with an easy-to-follow storyline. Short performances from the show’s special musical guest add an interesting contrast to the comedy. Griffiths’ talents for body language, facial expressions and vocal variations enhance the comedic content of the sketches, and attract a fair few laughs along the way.
A handful of the sketches do drag on far too long, however, with needlessly repetitive jokes and punchlines, and a few of the characters are played as familiar and predictable stereotypes. Some of the Melbourne references are too specific, to the point where audiences from interstate may be alienated, or even those who live here, but don’t recognise those references.
Despite these shortcomings, highlights include characters with depth and charm; for example, Griffiths’ portrayal of a mum interacting with the show’s special musical guest, which is fun to watch. While some of these characters reappear from time to time, the sketches don’t feel too drawn out because of how entertaining and likeable they are.
Audience members who despise being singled out by performers may find relief in Griffiths’ unique approach to audience interaction. Without giving spoilers, she does so minimally, interacting with people without humiliating them, embarrassing them or awkwardly trying to make conversation.
If you want a fun and unique guide to Melbourne without the touristy energy, then you could do worse than trying Griffiths’ No Thoughts.
No Thoughts written and performed by Taylor Griffiths
Director: Hayley Tantau
Taylor Griffith will be performing No Thoughts at the Malthouse Theatre until 9 April 2023. Tickets $20-$30