Obviously I had to go see this show, for the name alone. I mean, obviously. God Fights the Dinosaurs & 9 Other Stories That Will Awesome You in the Face is perhaps the most epically named show ever, and I’d love it just for existing whatever it consisted of.
It is not the first dinosaur-themed show from Fabian Lapham, who made his Comedy Festival debut in 2011 with Date Raptor. Then he was in a double act called Mach/Lap, with which he’s also appeared on Channel 31 show Lost Dog TV, but this year he is performing at the front of a band, The Actual Musicians.
Dressed in a style which might be described as vaudevillian hipster – hat, striped jacket, jeans and sneakers – he plays an amped ukulele, accompanied by a sultry-voiced backup singer who also plays second uke, a guitarist, bass player and drummer. His act combines songs, often ridiculous takes on grand themes, with one-liners, solo sketches and impressions.
Lapham loves his puns and wordplay and there are dirty jokes aplenty too. The sketches play with scenarios such as a man getting an annoying call from his future self, or Russell Crowe turning to poetry, while the songs are convoluted works of whimsy about the likes of mind-controlling aliens, Elvis Presley and, yes, eventually God going head to head with dinosaurs determined not to be made extinct. There’s a good dose of muso humour in there and the band, who are bona fide talented musicians, remain involved throughout.
Of course, in giving the show such a fantastic title, it was always going to be hard to live up to it. Lapham does manage to but not consistently, his humour hit and miss in an epic kind of way. When he’s on target, he’s hysterical but he drops a lot of shameless clunkers too. Lapham would do better to thresh out his material more and lose some of the chaff, especially when seeking to draw humour from absurdity or wrongness, which sometimes can simply be absurd or wrong without also being funny.
The high points are good enough and frequent enough to make it easy to gloss over the flat patches, though, and the show is overall very entertaining. It ends on a big high, so you come away remembering the better gags and feeling that your face has indeed been awesomed in. Lapham gives the impression of a potentially fearsome comic talent in development, still finding the right balance of whimsy, shock and wit. He’s inconsistent but his ‘A’ material is excellent and if he could keep closer to that standard for the whole show he’d be unstoppable.
God Fights the Dinosaurs & 9 Other Stories That Will Awesome You in the Face
Fabian Lapham & The Actual Musicians
Venue: Northcote Town Hall | 189 High St, Northcote
Dates: 13 – 21 Apr , 2013
Tickets: $12 – $20
Bookings: 9481 9500
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival