Jon Walpole: One Man Performing A Two-Man Show {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Where would Laurel be without Hardy? Abbot without Costello? Statler without Waldorf? Or George W. Bush without Dick Cheney? These comedy duos are great together but nothing by themselves. That’s the situation Jon Walpole finds himself facing in this hilarious production where only half the act has arrived and yet the show must go on!

Jon Walpole is easily becoming one of my favourite Australian comedians. This would be the third show of his which I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing and he has proven himself to be as innovative as he is hysterical. Just last week I caught his (and Jeromaia Detto’s) children’s show ’STUFF!’ which I enjoyed entirely. This current and more mature outing, One Man Performing a Two Man Show is similar to his previous effort ‘Uh Yeah…So’ in its creativity and variety.

As we walk into the Motley Bauhaus upstairs barroom a panicked man in a dapper suit pace back and forth. “Have you seen someone dressed like me!?” he pleads as ‘Just the Two of Us’ plays over the speakers and people take their seats. I absolutely LOVE it when shows unconventionally start off like this. Half the audience hasn’t even come in yet and Jon is in full character whispering to the barman (and his tech guy) James.

“Have you heard from Tim yet!?” Jon repeatedly asks until he’s told it’s time to start the show and he must go on anyway. What follows is one of the weirdest comedy shows I’ve ever seen. Jon dances, high fives and performs trust falling exercises all by himself wearing a crash helmet. Repeatedly asking James if he‘s heard from Tim the whole time.

It might seem like this act would get old but Walpoles show is so much more diverse than you would think at first glance. Becoming something of a one-man variety show, Walpole performs skits by himself, interacts with the audience, and most of all, there’s heaps of sound effects based pantomime work.

Quite a lot of the show is built around this sound effects comedy with windchimes, skipping stones, a talking water bottle, and an epic and gruesome battle with the island of tiny teacup people to name a few. If none of that makes any sense, good. Walpoles absolutely out of left field and random as all hell surreal humour is why every moment of this show is so fascinating. 

This one-man show isn’t quite so ‘one man’ as many audience members are called up on stage throughout the night. Obviously, the audience needs to be receptive to the spotlight or things just won’t work. But Walpole’s infectious energy is usually enough to convince anyone to join in on the fun and everyone has a great time.

Awkward moments do happen however when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes there’s an error with the sound effects audio, or more often, an audience member doesn’t quite go with the bit. Thankfully, Walpole is such a great improv man he can always run with it just fine. Many laughs throughout the show came from Jon or James clearly going completely off script.

Jon Walpoles ’One Man Performing a Two Man Show’ is yet another fantastic hour of laughs from Jon Walpole. His style of comedy is hard to describe but the effect he has on his audience isn’t. I most definitely recommend checking out this show if you get a chance. You won’t regret it.

Jon Walpole’s ’One Man Performing a Two Man Show’ is now playing as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 23rd.
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