Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, Fri Oct 17
Lawrence Mooney hosts his own TV show on the ABC; it’s clearly done wonders for his national profile and on the strength of this performance he deserves it. Not all TV comedians are successful in the transition to the live arena. The difference between the 2-3 minute grabs typical of television comedy and the 1 hour stand up version can be quite large but Mooney crosses that chasm with ease. Here is a man, it seems, that is born to do stand-up. Totally relaxed from the moment he walked on stage till his final bow, it was more a case of having too much good material.
Mooney has a great stage presence. Very likeable, and even a little charming, he sets about putting the boots into his own frailties, and those of men in general. Stupid Liars is mostly about men, and we take a battering! According to Mooney women should stop trying to work out what men are thinking about because we’re not thinking about much at all – just wanking and eating mostly. But women don’t come out of this show looking that great either. He reveals the secret lives of female chocolate junkies, and his depiction of a fancily dressed woman racegoer ending a day at the races tragically smashed is hilarious. For the record, Mooney makes a great drunk… or stoned and out-of-it character. Some of these skills have been learned from his off stage life, and he’s quite upfront about that.
Mooney is also a great physical comic. Pulling a hamstring while having sex was beautifully orchestrated, but more subtle moves like dropping the shoulders as the forlorn browbeaten husband, the bulging eyes of surprise of a child, or a cock of the head were just as telling.
All comedians seem compelled to send up the city they’re performing in, but apart from some unfair swipes at people of Glenelg for some reason, I’m so glad he did! He congratulated Adelaide on our talent for producing “repressed homosexual liberals” and then launched into a classic send-up of Christopher Pyne that was fantastic.
And then there’s the sex and the wanking and the poo routines. Mooney is a smart guy. He’s clearly good with words and could be a great character actor; his portrayal of Douglas and Beverley, two school teachers who don’t know how to realise their secret love for each other was quite gripping. We were promised a return to their story later in the show. It’s a bit weird I realise to complain that a show you enjoyed was too long. Stand-up typically goes for around an hour and Stupid Liars went way longer. That was mostly fine except most of the latter part of the show focused on poo and arseholes. Performers all feed off their audience and Mooney was probably responding to the howls of laughter from those enjoying the poo routines. I think he strayed too far down the path of the lowest common denominator towards the end of a great show.
Sadly, we never found out what happened to Douglas and Beverley!
by Michael Coghlan