Lawrence Leung describes himself as a “whimsical, sensitive” comedian. He threatens would-be hecklers with tears and an asthma inhaler. It’s a telling moment. The crowd settles back into their seats and Lawrence gets on with the whimsy. This makes for a relaxed evening out, and marks Lawrence as a rare commodity in the pugnacious bear pit of the testosterone charged comedy scene. This isn’t a show that seeks to embarrass or humiliate the audience or even interact with them particularly, although Lawrence is warm and responsive, both when a joke works out and when it doesn’t.
Lawrence is on a mission: to impart his enthusiasm for jet packs and take us on the journey of how he eventually became a bona fide share holder in a New Zealand jet pack manufacturing company. Much like his TV show, Choose Your Own Adventure, and his award winning Lawrence Leung Learns to Break Dance, he has fixed upon a specific goal, to fly a jet pack, and nothing is going to stop him. The results are richly funny. His research takes in a variety of jet pack nutters in the States and culminates in him finding local buddy online who builds him a jet pack with a pillow strapped on for comfort. Wearing the cumbersome homemade contraption, he bravely enters the Mr Birdman Competition where he flies 1.3 metres (on his own admission, he would have gone further without it) and has to be fished out of the revolting Yarra waters by the surf patrol. It is no surprise when the stirring strains of Elton John’s Rocketman fill the theatre at the close of the show-what could be more appropriate? There is a lot of referencing his Dad and many modest self depreciative observations which add up to a geeky night out with Lawrence. The stalls of the Parade Theatre were packed out and a distinct whiff of disappointment was detectable when the show was over-proving there are a lot of people who embrace whimsical sensitive dreamers. This is a beautifully constructed show with the warm glow of emotional intelligence lighting every step of the way.
2011 Sydney Comedy Festival
Lawrence Leung Wants a Jetpack
Venue: Parade Theatre
Dates: Fri 6 - Sat 7 May at 7:30pm
Tickets: Adult $29.50, Conc. $25, Groups (8+) $25
Bookings: 132 849 | www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au