There have been many great Cons in history. Con the Fruiterer, Con-Air and now we have Con Coutis. One of the most innovative comedians of this year’s Melbourne Fringe. What’s more there are dozens of him! All of whom are battling it out nightly for the illusive comedy belt.
Con vs Con vs Con is the latest show from comedian Con Coutis also a nominee for Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s 2023 Golden Gibbo Award. Named after the late Lynda Gibson, the Golden Gibbo is awarded for local, independent Melbourne Comedy Festival shows which buck trends. “Particularly in pursuing the artist’s idea more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure.” I think it’s safe to say Coutis has achieved innovation as well as popularity, judging by the packed room.
I admit, I was taken aback walking into The Motley Bauhaus’ Black Box Theatre. I’ve seen many shows there, all of which having incredible set design. This was the first comedy show I’ve seen there with naught but a mic stand on display. However, the deceptively barren stage belied the absolute insanity which was about to be unleashed.
As Con Coutis comes out, we see he has an immensely confident and laid back stage presence. Someone who wants to bring the crowd together and have a great time. We hear his musings on life, human connections and he gets the crowd warmed up. Then we’re slowly introduced to something which makes this show so special, the sound effects. Some handled by Coutis himself and others by the night’s technical whizz in the rear of the room.
It’s hard to put into words but this is where the show really shifts into high gear. The real meat and potatoes of Con‘s truly eccentric comedy takes us on a journey. A trip throughout the different levels of the man’s very mind. His internal thoughts, his fears, and his imagination. All the while, we’re pursued by alternative Cons, each with their own alternative audiences!
If it sounds like an absolutely bonkers show, that’s because it is. Ever wondered what a one man ‘Die Hard’ adventure crossed with ‘Being John Malkovich’ would be like? Then this is the show for you! It’s creative, hilarious and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Con Coutis‘ set features an incredible range of pantomime acting combined with dynamic lighting and the aforementioned sound effects. There were some technical gaffs early on but I was impressed by how smooth the show became once it picked up steam. Lightsabres, musical interludes, grenades, and tons of surprises! Culminating in an all-out brawl for supremacy! I don’t think I’ve ever been impressed by fight choreography in a one man show before, nor did ever I think such a feat was possible.
Con Coutis is clearly a master of crowd work incorporating is craft in such a way to add to the funhouse atmosphere. A problem I’ve noticed is that it often relies on the receptivity of the individuals in the audience. However, Con Coutis‘ stage presence has a Con-tageous effect and everyone joins in. Despite being a full room, I think nearly every audience member got brought into the fun of the show at some point. I personally got asked my name and was telekinetically slapped across the face in return. It was incredible!
Con vs Con vs Con is an and hilariously insane hour of fun. A work of mad genius from Con Coutis which is severely witty and inspiring. Do yourself a favour and catch his show at the 2023 Melbourne Fringe.
Con Curtis‘ Con vs Con vs Con is currently playing at The Motley Bauhaus until the 15th of October.
For more information and ticketing, visit:
Photography by Nick Robertson.