By Lauren Shearman
Paul Culliver is among the world’s greatest oddballs. His comedic mind works in fascinatingly unique ways, often running off on strange tangents or unplanned quips. His debut solo stand up performance Paul Culliver is the best newcomer is sure to delight a modern, generation Y audience.
Opening with awkward, gyrating dance moves you instantly get a feel for his self-deprecating humour. He explains the title of ‘best newcomer’ to be a self-appointed and throughout the show rates his performance out of five stars gauging on audience reactions. His amusing anecdotes and comical appreciation for the small things in life is engaging to say the least. Culliver takes his audience on a dizzying journey that starts with online dating and then evolves into a discussion about nuclear war, the definition of good coffee, solutions to work place problems and health matters. Don’t be fooled by the generic material, Culliver finds the most unexpected joys in STI checks and ponders hilariously insane possibilities of a Game of Thrones approach to workplace issues. His performance does have moments of hit-and-miss but his great energy and affable personality will provide much amusement.
The show takes place in the rather intimate space of Highlander bar’s upstairs loft. The venue is well lit, however, it reveals that Culliver has only two facial expressions – surprise or neutral. For a subdued audience, there will be moments of awkward eye contact and his attempts to be relatable will not translate to a wide audience. Yet the personable Culliver will remain upbeat and even greet audience as they leave, overcoming whatever technical difficulties or audience reactions may throw at him.
Even if Culliver is not officially the best newcomer he certainly has made a promising start to his comedic career. While you won’t experience side splitting laughs, you’ll be guaranteed an entertaining 40 minutes of material that will leave you smiling in the perfect end to an evening out.
Read more Melbourne International Comedy Reviews in the April Theatre Magazine COMING SOON.
Image courtesy of Sarah Walker.