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JOEY PAGE PRETTY BOY! @ 1907 gets 9/10 Mess with our heads much?

JOEY PAGE PRETTY BOY! @ 1907 Palace (for Fringe)
Friday, February 23, 2018

9/10

It takes a lot of courage to be yourself on stage – especially when you’re as odd as comedian Joey Page. In this third run of his Perth Fringe show, this South East London native revels in his wildly unique brand of off-the-planet weirdo and, he ain’t afraid to show it.

“Does anyone have any serious reservations about the show?” was the cautious question put to an unsuspecting audience as the pre-show seating and getting of drinks was wrapping up. The questioner had previously been sitting in the front rows as the crowd piled in and appeared to be the main performer’s support act or, possibly a stage hand? Then, as he donned his suit jacket, all of a sudden, the main act had arrived on stage. At times lost on a tired after-work crowd, this British form of peculiar playfulness continued throughout this mind-bending one hour show.

Completely unexpected, Page began with some toilet humour, which was at times difficult to compute for all its incredibly convoluted narratives, but, entirely entertaining. When excited, the man talks at a minimum of the speed of light, quite easily covering the parsecs required to move from Earth to outside the known universe in the amount of time it takes to pass a joint. Which, uh hum, would be a well utilised prop on entry to any Page show in all its abundant absurdity and quirk.

At times, his content completely parodies the regular punchline. And, he’s always making reference to the fact that what he’s doing is constructed and ‘unreal’. For example, “now I’m going to do some observational comedy!” is followed by some wonderfully silly cognitions and a ridiculous bit where the same joke returns over and over again as a crippled call back. Stand out moments included some marvellous audience interaction where participants were invited to imagine what they would talk about if they were a high pizza. Comedic gold ensued with some extremely physical and delightfully surreal humour from Page.

At one stage, he made reference to a past reviewer, who bemoaned the lack of the road-more-travelled form of stage comedy, penning: “I wish he would write some actual jokes”. Page does actually employ some story-telling with punchline type scenarios throughout the show but, the marked difference between his and more conventional forms is that Page’s stories are make believe. Most stand-ups use real-life, personal scenarios to make us laugh but, Page’s set is entirely imagined up by his gloriously triptastic ‘I’ve been to see The Wizard of Oz and come back’ state of mind.

There’s no doubting Page’s association with some strange bedfellows, having appeared in the Noel Fielding’s ludicrous Luxury Comedy. Pretty Boy is a class cult surrealist act and definitely for the more broad-minded. More conservative show-goers may have found it hard to keep up with Page without previous said joint – maybe his producers should consider adding a complimentary spliff to show-goers on entry?

JO CAMPBELL

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