30 March 2008

Reuben Krum’s Naughty Show

2008 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Reuben Krum’s Naughty Show

29 March 2008
Northcote Town Hall


I like my singers vocally strong, my boys pretty, my humour black, my content complex and my cabaret obscene. Reuben Krum’s Naughty Show ticked my boxes – and made me laugh ‘til it hurt.

Racism, paedophilia, Nazism, dead puppies, the cultural significance of coming in a girl’s mouth and homespun Aussie musicals are not the safest of material to play with. Humour is a powerful force to expose the real absurdities and obscenities in our lives. But you really have to do it well – otherwise it just reinforces the ridiculous opinions you are trying to satirise.

There are many comedians in this laugh fest presenting naughty material and controversial content. Their jokes are good, but audiences stare blankly back. I’ve heard more than one complaint that the people-choosing-to-spend-their-hard-earned-money-to-see-shows are stupid, conservative and don’t have a sense of humour. Perhaps it’s because the jokes don’t work? Many fail to work though their own implications and the writers haven’t thoroughly researched the topic.

The content in Reuben Krum’s Naughty Show is as fearlessly naughty as it comes. What makes it stand out is the detail, the intelligence and the knowledge behind every joke. His Jew jokes are as complex as his Nazi jokes. (I’m alternately humming “I Think You’re a Nazi, Baby” and “What I Like about Jews”.) He may the first person who make me laugh hysterically at an Azaria Chamberlain joke (and when I say joke – I mean a complete musical), instead of wanting to gaff their mouth shut.

Who would have thought that a young, gay Jewish cabaret performer would exemplify my opinion about “cunt” (if you missed my Make Deadshits History review,  I wasn’t fond of the language used in the show). Krum opens with a cunt joke and proceeds to break down the taboos surrounding “obscene” language. He uses the irony-laced cunt, the reclaiming cunt, and the divinely non-misogynistic cunt and throws in vagina, labia and clitoris. Not only does he understand the complexity of the word – he knows more about the complexity of a physical cunt than many a lad.

It’s not our language that’s obscene – it’s the racism, the hate crimes, the ignorance, the bigotry, the violence (and some of those homespun Aussie musicals).

And he sings and prances about it. This is a singing, dancing, gold-brocade cabaret show. Krum rises above the pack in all respects. His likable persona engages even the most cynical; he uses minimal theatrics to maximum effect and is accompanied perfectly by pianist Ben Kiley.

Reuben Krum’s Naughty Show is obscenely intelligent, beautifully filthy, and rib-cracking funny. See it.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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