Reuben Kaye: Apocalipstik {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are very few shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival that I annual look forward to and one of them is Reuben Kaye. Every year, they return with a brand new show and I learn something knew about the talented performer and his extensive family history. His 2024 offering is no exception.

Performing at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, Apocalipstik is a fresh take on the current status of the happenings around the world. His brand of hard-hitting political comedy holds no punches and leans into the 2024 feeling of existential dread and how, yet again, we are on the verge of an apocalypse.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. In the most hilarious way possible, Reuben Kaye has a new tale of his family’s history. This time, a scandalous story about Reuben’s uncle and his life in post-war East Berlin.

For Reuben Kaye, nothing is off limits, and I mean nothing! Whether it be war, financial insecurity, political commentary and of course, uncensored sexual references. Reuben’s shows are unlike anything I have ever experienced and if you have never seen any of his shows before, you’re going to be in for quite the wild ride.

Not only does Reuben Kaye tell incredibly detailed, affectionate, and heartwarming tales of his family’s history, albeit, sometimes chequered past, but he also sings. And when I say sing, I mean, this guy can really sing. Every time I attend his shows, I am again blown away by his mutant lungs. Complete with a four-piece live band, Reuben’s musicality is off the charts!

And if the singing and storytelling isn’t enough to entertain, Reuben’s crowd work is some of the best in the industry. Slowly meandering through the Malthouse audience, Reuben will select patrons to experience the show up close and personal, whether it be affectionately stroking their hair mid-monologue (or lack thereof), to sitting on their lap and other forms of physical interaction, you will just have to witness for yourself. And if you try to avoid it, trust me, Reuben will single you out even more!

There has never been a Reuben Kaye show that I have been disappointed with. If anything, Reuben has a unique ability, no matter how many times you’ve seen him, to always surprise you and leave you wanting more. I have now seen his various productions every year since 2022 and I am always willingly stunned. I honestly believe that sometimes Reuben surprises himself just as much.

While Apocalipstik does have a clear narrative, there are moments in the show where a thought will pop into Reuben’s head that he just has to say. And at times, you’ll see him keel over, laughing at his own joke, starring back at his band as if to say, ‘Did I really just say that?’. This happens more often than you might think, and it might be a deliberate, or even a subconscious way for Reuben to gauge what sort of crowd he has for that particular show. Either way, it’s extremely hilarious and I have no idea how his band manage to keep a straight face for the entirety of the 80-minute run.

Reuben Kaye has it all. He is unfiltered, lighting fast quick-witted, vocally majestic, always stylish, vulnerable, brutally honest, incredibly detailed and open with his personal stories, and a has a set of stunning costumes as the glittery cherry on top. I honestly cannot fault Reuben one bit and I cannot wait to see what they bring to the festival next year!

Reuben Kaye’s Apocalipstik is now on at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre with sessions every Wednesday through to Sunday.
For more information and ticketing, visit:

Photography supplied.

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