The most entertaining of the Aaron McIlroy comedy shows I have seen. (Review by Keith Millar)
Due to popular demand, Aaron McIlroy has brought back his award-winning production, Comedy Masterclass, for a short season at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
McIlroy has built up a huge fan club over the years with productions such as Abbamaniacs, The Loser, 7 Deadly Sins and The Ranga and others.
Normally, with McIlroy productions, one is taken on a manic rollercoaster ride of side-splitting hilarity, bombarded on all sides by his zany characters, and left figuratively battered and bruised by the time the curtain comes down. And woe betide anyone who has the courage to sit in the front row.
Comedy Masterclass is something else entirely. Not that there aren’t elements of McIlroy’s usual high energy, manic style in the production. But he is altogether more introspective, composed and subtler as he tries to analyse the illusive question, “What is Comedy.”
This is not to say that it is not a very funny show. It most certainly is. McIlroy is a superb comedy entertainer. He just needs one of his trademark poses to get an audience giggling. He has dynamism to burn and is blessed with sublime comedy timing. He displays all these considerable talents in Comedy Masterclass.
The set for the production is backstage at a theatre. The stage is littered with all sorts of paraphernalia and left-overs from previous productions. Enough for McIlroy to get up to plenty of mischief.
Amongst this chaos is McIlroy, preparing to go on stage for his first performance in some time. He is obviously nervous and this leads to his reflecting on the nature of comedy. As the production progresses, he relates incidents that he has experienced at gigs. These include a one armed Irish dancer and a rather malodorous Porta-Loo story.
He also enacts a one-sided cellphone conversation with John Cleese. This part was the performer at his manic best as he charges about the stage and up and down ladders looking for a better cellphone signal.
In the second half, I felt that the show sagged a little bit when we were introduced to McIlroy’s German scientist but certainly picked up when he related the experiences he and his wife, Lisa Bobbert, had while entertaining in Hong Kong.
McIlroy appropriately ends his show with a poignant and heartfelt rendition of the Charlie Chaplin song Smile.
Comedy Masterclass shows sides of this entertainer which I had not experienced before. As a result, it is for me the most entertaining of the Aaron McIlroy comedy shows I have seen.
Don’t miss this if you want a good laugh. But if you are a big Aaron McIlroy fan, expect something a little different.
Comedy Masterclass is co-written by McIlroy and Patrick Kenny and directed by Kenny. Produced by McBob Productions, it runs until March 26 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Shows are at 19h30 and at 18h00 on Sunday. Tickets R145 (R120 student and pensioner concessions). Book now at Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com – Keith Millar