Alan BroughThose of us who know Alan Brough mainly as a resident panellist on Spicks and Specks had no idea what to expect of his show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. To judge from his TV persona, he would be delivering an urbane, witty and relaxed stand-up routine. We were in for a surprise.

Brough served up a perfectly constructed and rehearsed dramatic monologue, although there were many characters onstage, all of them played by Brough: the lady mayor, the local yokels, the public speaker and local politician, various farmyard animals and Brough himself. He excelled in these characterisations, with their individual voices, facial expressions and body language.

The fantasy is set in Helensville, a country town that smelled suspiciously of Gippsland, that is about to be put on the map by an ambitious mayoress, the villain of the piece. This gives Brough a vehicle for satirising the joys of city living, a nice irony for a Melbourne audience and one of the funniest moments in a very funny routine. The laughter was consistent, except perhaps for one section in which the mayoress threatens our Alan with violence.

It was all good, clean fun, compared with the average stand-up show. Apart from some bestial references to our farmyard friends that were in exceedingly good taste, you would have no worries about bringing the kids. Hapless targets of the Brough satire included Landmark self-development devotees and members of the Toastmasters public speaking program.

Brough’s forté is his physical comedy, especially his facial expressions, but what makes this a stand-out event is his skill in cutting and pasting bite-sized pieces of his material to re-run in different formats. Sorry, I can’t give away the climax. But I will say it is surprisingly visual, filmic even. Not intellectual, but very clever.

Alan Brough
Top Town

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall
Dates: April 5th – 29th (No show Mondays)
Times: Tues-Sat 7.15pm, Sunday 6.15pm
Tickets:  Fri & Sat All Tix $25, Full (Wed, Thu & Sun) $25, Con & Group (6 or more) & Tightarse Tuesdays $20
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 or

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