There are three things I am comfortable saying about comedy. The rest I’m waiting to be paid to write about.
1) Being good on stage requires practice, in particular, practice in front of an audience.
2) I love shit that makes men (especially straight white men) scared. (But they won’t call it ‘scared’ ‘cause you know, ‘I’m not some pussy faggot bitch who’s threatened by a joke lol’).
3) Comedy in Melbourne only gives practice to people who won’t scare those boys.
This ends you with a scene where a potentially incredible comic like the character of Philly May doesn’t get the practice needed to be 100% amazing at her craft.
Philly May made me laugh so hard that, as I left, I felt like I’d just completed an intense session of core exercise.
The character fits your 1950s Betty Crocker-meets-All About Eve-era-Bette Davis trope. It’s 2015, everything’s a stereotype, whatever – is it done well? Is there a twist? Yes. This has a demonic level of darkness that I’d like to see extended. Surely being the most famous woman in the world requires selling your soul, yes?
The execution of a show requires a suitable venue. In Madame Brussels, The Philly May Show has one. The tickets are expensive, but so are the drinks and – I’m guessing – the venue hire. So when I give a nuanced and conditional recommendation that you totally should see the show I’m saying make a night of it, never get your hopes/hype high enough to be disappointed. And take a straight white boy to scare (and watch his humourless scoffs).
There are lots of good and funny and dark things about this. There were wonderful audio visual projections and non-cliched ‘spice’ used on stage. For lack of a better word, it was cool.
The flaws of the show come with those things that need refining and probably haven’t been given the chance to be practiced enough with an audience. But they’re not too frequent and the good far outweighs the bad.
In short, The Philly May Show made my guts hurt. In a nice way.