Mathew Kenneally Flips The Bird At The Finger Pointers
With his thought-provoking show about the big, topical issues, Mathew Kenneally is likely to appeal to the smart, liberal-minded middle classes who seek out the festival’s more intelligent offerings. And in return for their patronage, he chips away at the hypocrisy of their well-meaning but misguided ideas. Thankfully, though, he has the sharp wit not just to get away with it, but elicit plenty of hearty chuckles as he does.
This is an eloquent and witty summary of the past few months of Melbourne news, up to and including this week’s headlines. But you don’t have to know the stories inside-out as his incisive dismissal of the impotent metropolitan do-gooders paying no more than lip-service to the hardships of the ‘have nots’ has universal relevance.
In a festival full of whimsy, self-reflection and no-brain entertainment, it’s refreshing to see a comedian take on the wider themes. Kenneally – a best newcomer nominee two years ago and seemingly much older than his 29 years – does reveal something about himself over the course of the hour, but only as a by-product.
If there’s a received opinion, he’ll challenge it – from the universal dismissal of flag-waving bogans on Australia Day as mindless bigots, to the Vindaloo Against Violence campaign showing solidarity for Indian workers attacked on the streets of this supposedly tolerant city. He claims he’s not a ‘contrarian prick’, although all evidence seems to point that way, but at least he’s funny with it.
Occasionally there’s a strand to his writing that could delve deeper – the homo-erotic undertones of rugby, especially, is not a new thought – but overall, the result in impressive.
Kenneally may not be one of the bigger names at this festival, but he’s produced a well-constructed show, delivered with conviction, with an impressive arsenal of witty, provocative gags.