One of the truly wonderful things about FRINGE WORLD is the outside chance that something unexpected will blow your mind.
On the whole, 3 Course Spiel with a Nice Whine is a respectable effort by some young comedians who are building their craft. Sure, it’s a little patchy, but it’s pretty funny and each performer has his own distinctive comedic qualities to build upon.
Ben Scott has a cool and easy way of touching the pressure-points of young adulthood: sex, drugs and the nonsense measures of social worth. With just a little acid on the tongue, he keeps it unpredictable and interesting.
Nikolai Blazeski has the quirks and smarts to note the hollowness that comes from reading quantum physics. His distinctive presence on stage gives him a head start in comedy. They are worth seeing for the curiosity of the ’emerging new talent’ factor.
But it’s the radical right turn the show takes with Tomas Brady that makes it a must see. Brady is the quintessential raw talent with a quality that sets him apart from the pack: something important to say.
With his dread-locked hair and any-street attire, he starts with a few easy pitches. Then he mentions Afghanistan. Then you notice the Australian Army crest tattoo. Then it’s gags about PTSD, and the burning question: what was the point of it all?
Funny? Yes. Because when the average suburban citizen asks a traumatised war veteran ‘how are you?’ and gets an honest unfiltered answer, their patent inability to cope with it is, in a way, funny.
Brady is unpolished, imperfect, and seems caught between two different ideas about the comedian he should be. His ability to reach through the isolation of PTSD to engage an audience is something very special.
Tomas Brady is able to make us think critically and compassionately about what we ask of our young service men and women. He could become an agent for recovery and healing among people living with PTSD. It’s a hell of a lot to ask of him, he may not want to take on that burden, but he has what it would take.