Five Year Reunion - Sydney Fringe Festival (NSW)
A One Man Show by Xavier Lynch. Part of the Sydney Fringe Festival
Reviewed by Juliana Payne
Erskineville Town Hall
26th - 30th September
- A sharply tuned radar for hypocrisy and self- delusion, Xavier Lynch is an artist on the rise -
In a tiny space in Erskineville Town Hall, Xavier Lynch populated a performance with at least five and possibly six characters. Like a woke Chris Lilley (no yellow or brown face thank you) but with a genuine talent and flair for satirical observational characterisation, Lynch skewered private boarding schools and university colleges and the people who breed there in the hothouse conditions.
Lynch is the love-child of Bob Downe and Kath and Kim and his production is not the less funny for having a dark and bittersweet sub-plot. He has a solid writer’s skill for capturing the modern idiom, and a comic’s sense of physical characterisation with Prue and Trude’s affected rich-people’s tones and ‘tude. Lynch has a healthy self-awareness and sense of irony and the ridiculousness of it all that moves this show from just a rich boy’s whinge to some sharp comedy as well as some pathos. Do we feel sorry for these deluded and annoyingly self-obsessed people, or does Schadenfreude kick in? You be the judge.
The production is a clever and well-orchestrated mix of live performance and video on a life-size backdrop that lets Lynch interact with his band of characters. It’s nerve-wracking relying on tech in a show, especially a small one, but top marks to the crew (Scott Gabutto) for running it smoothly without the blue spinning circle of death appearing on the screen. The hybrid concept of the show is a microcosm of what is no doubt yet to come from the Tik-Tok generation – and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Heaps of notable talent blossomed there during the pandemic and people like Millie Ford and I’m sure Lynch himself cut their comic teeth in that ruthless environment.
At the heart of the show is – always – the writing, and Lynch has the makings of a great comedy writer: the sense of the ridiculous, an ear for what people say but knowing what they really mean, and a sharply tuned radar for hypocrisy and self- delusion. Sure, it was raw, but hey this is Fringe after all. His renditions of the vapid, the venial and the very annoying privileged people he portrays cut to the bone. I lost count of how many times they said ‘literally’ – LOL. It was too real.
Because of some generational differentiation in the audience (i.e. I was older and many were younger) they often laughed when I didn’t, and I laughed when they didn’t. I think I laughed more often though and I recommend popping along to this show – there are several different shows a night at the Erko Town Hall venue and you could really find some gems there between now and the weekend. You might even have the benefit, like me, of seeing someone who could be one of the next big stars of Australian satirical comedy as they get tested out in a 30-seat venue. Next stop – who knows? Enjoy the show.
26 - 30 Sep | 1 hour
Venue 1: Emerging Artist Sharehouse - The Office
Content warnings: Sexual Themes, Depiction of Sexual Acts
Plan your Sydney Fringe this September by heading to their website for the extensive list of what's on offer. Visit: https://sydneyfringe.com/whats-on/