The Slutcracker | Tim KeyPhoto - Prudence Upton

Tim Key
arrives as part of the 2010 Sydney Festival calender. Key is no stranger to the festival circuit, having won the Award for comedy with this show at last years Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He is billed as a poet, but The Slutcracker is far from the pretensions of a stuffy poetry evening. If anything this is anti-poetry - in a good way. Tim Key exhibits a show that is anarchic, shambolic and entirely original. As a comedian his style is unparralleled - part stand up, part poetry, part audio visual presentation. Much of the comedy comes from his short fire poems that are loosely cobbled together in four acts that broadly cover love, music and other such important institutions of life, though not taken too seriously.

Where Key truly shines as a performer, though, is in his quick wit and repartee with his audience, cliche though this may sound, he is a charming performer who can build a genuine rapport. And he is funny, in the very British sense, which is what one might expect from a Cambridge footlights alumni. Do expect double meanings and wordplay.

To return to the anarchy I mentioned earlier, underpinning the shows four act structure is a non linear, near schitzophrenic atmosphere, whereby Key manages to weave together poetry, anecdotes and then a short (mostly) unrelated visual vignette in what seems like, all at the same time! To this end my advice would be, don't think too hard, just enjoy the swiftness of the show.

Now as with any balanced review, having mentioned it's finer points I must turn to the lesser points, if one can call it that. I would say that following a very strong beginning whereby he establishes his tone and style the second half begins to drag as one becomes familiar with the pace and rhythm of his delivery. Although to this end I would say his frenetic multifarious pastiche of ideas and actions actually negates anything that would bring the enjoyment of this show into dusripute.

Tim Key is difficult to classify and, as with any brand of comedy, it's a matter of taste, but I personally felt this was a nicely realised show and is a strong comedy inclusion at this years Festival.

2010 Sydney Festival
The Slutcracker
Tim Key

Venue: Downstairs Theatre, Seymour Centre | The University of Sydney, Cnr City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale
Dates: January 16, 17, 19–23 at 10pm
Duration: 55mins, no interval
Tickets: $30
Bookings: Seymour Theatre Centre 02 9351 7940 | Sydney Festival 1300 668 812 | Ticketmaster 1300 723 038

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