When you come into the Lords of Luxury’s show in the Trades Hall basement bookstore, the first thing you notice (apart from the steamy atmosphere and the shelves of left-wing literature lurking in the sidelines) is a cardboard and tin-foil robot sitting on the stage. It is labelled “Introbot” and it’ll be introducing the Lords shortly but for now it is doing a good job of setting the scene for the act to follow. Nothing so perfectly sums up the Lords’ nerdishly goofy style as a handmade robot prop.
The Lords, when they come on, are four young men in tuxedoes, ranging from the clean-cut (Matt Saraceni and Luke Ryan) through the fashionably dishevelled (Dan Debuf) to the impressively hirsute (Paul Verhoeven). They come from a mix of backgrounds, including improv, stand-up, online writing and broadcasting. Verhoeven is well known as Triple J’s resident “nerd news” reporter, while Debuf and Saraceni are familiar voices on Nova 100. Ryan’s had a solo show at MICF before, the memorable Luke’s Got Cancer (2009). As The Lords, this multi-talented quartet perform sketch comedy both in a podcast series and in live shows.
Don’t let their dapper dress sense fool you into thinking you’ll be in for a night of laconic raconteuring. The Lords’ style is zany, fast and loud. They are energetically physical and tirelessly upbeat and they engage with the audience in a variety of fun ways that keep the mood in the room high.
As you might expect from four performers so immersed in the media world, pop culture references abound. It also goes without saying that, after being introduced by a cardboard robot, they are unafraid to fly their geek flag high. The gags can be a little daggy but the show flies on the strength of the camaraderie among the cast.
There is something of a mates-mucking-around-together feel to proceedings and the show is at its strongest when playing to this. A series of scenes in which they perform a staged reading of a science fiction romance story that one of the them (Ryan) wrote in high school, is a highlight, enabling them to indulge in banter and good-natured mockery among each other, while giving plenty of opportunities to clown on stage.
Debuf, Verhoeven, Saraceni and Ryan are all very likable performers and it’s easy to get carried away on their stream of silliness. Their humour may not be as sophisticated as their suits but the Lords of Luxury do deliver a fun show.
Lords of Luxury
Venue: Trades Hall - The Bookshop | Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Dates: 9 – 20 Apr, 2013
Tickets: $15 – $24
Bookings: 1300 660 013
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival