It takes a brave individual to stand in front of others and discuss in depth a list of mistakes that he’s made over the years. In the Get Out Stakes, the name referring to the last big race where desperate punters attempt to win back their money, Daniel Connell does just this, detailing in full his descent into gambling addiction.
After Connell’s explanation of what exactly the Get Out Stakes are, it’s easy enough to assume what the show will be about a former gambler discussing his past addiction. However, Connell declines to simply make jokes about his former problems, instead choosing to map out a timeline for his audience on how he got started as a punter.
The show starts with classic Melbourne atmosphere, the familiar trumpet tune of the Call to the Post filling the room before Connell takes to the stage. There is no direct dive straight into the tale of his horse betting past times – instead, Connell opens with a casual joke about the smallness of the stage, enough to get an easy laugh from the crowd.
Despite the somewhat grim nature of the show, Connell never fails to bring a loud laugh from the crowd, his material based around acceptance of his past problems and mistakes he made (losing a cool twelve grand at one point) are rife with self deprecating humour and deadpan nature. There is no self pity involved in a single moment of this performance, only sobering moments between the laughs when the full extent of Connell’s gambling addiction is brought to light with an offhand comment from the man.
Connell draws the show away from the general message at a few points during the night, which feel a little rushed and overall clunky, like you’re not sure how exactly he got onto the topic. His recollections of particular events throughout his addiction years are portrayed in a decidedly humorous manner, guaranteed to leave the audience chuckling for the rest of the night while simultaneously releasing a breath of relief that they can’t relate to the stories themselves.
The Get Out Stakes is a comedic act that will make you think on the stories you’ve been told. Connell uses both charm and wit to deliver the sad story of a man with a serious problem and make you laugh while doing it.
The Get Out Stakes is playing until 19th April at the Victoria Hotel. Get your tickets online or at the door.