Murphy McLachlan is a very cheery stand up comedian who knows he’s good at stand up. He’s so good at stand up that he’s decided to try his hand at other forms of entertainment, just to see what happens. Not just some things though, Murphy McLachlan wants to try everything. In fact, that’s the name of his Melbourne International Comedy Festival show.
Animated, light hearted and vaguely egotistical, McLachlan tries everything from juggling to poetry in the space of fifty minutes. The lanky bow-tied man is strangely bouncy, leaping from stage to audience and back again. McLachlan is downright silly in the most innocent of ways, building an onstage persona who believes in himself no matter what, and really loves ‘Jessie’s Girl’.
Upstairs at the Imperial, the room is middling in size and full of chairs, about half of which have people in them. It’s an impressive turn out for a 10:15pm show on a weeknight. Unfortunately, it is a particular crowd that stumbles in. Everyone in the audience is holding half-full pint glasses, and the further they get into their drinks the more chatty they are, both with McLachlan and with each other. They don’t laugh often, and at first it seems as though McLachlan just isn’t funny, despite his bravado. As the show goes on, however, and the crowd gets louder, it becomes clear that there is a basic misunderstanding here; they believe McLachlan’s self-absorbed façade. To an audience who believes his attempts at everything to be sincere, McLachlan would look an idiot, rather than a fool.
McLachlan is a hype man with a crowd who don’t want to be hyped. Crowd-dependent shows, it seems, really do depend on the crowd. Yet at no point does McLachlan appear to be phased by his audience’s disengagement. His intensity doesn’t fade, and it raises the question: if McLachlan is this happy now, what must he be like with an audience who appreciates him?
Murphy McLachlan Tries Everything is on at 10:15pm at the Imperial Hotel until Sunday April 5th. Tickets range from $10 to $15 and are available online or at the door.