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OLIVER TWIST @ The Rechabite gets 6/10


Oliver Twist @ The Rechabite
Thursday, May 12, 2022

6/10

In his opening performance for Perth Comedy Festival 2022, Oliver Twist captured the audience right away with shining eyes and a charming smile. Downstairs at The Rechabite Hall on Thursday, May 12, it was fantastic to see the festival continuing to draw crowds. It was a cold and rainy night and everyone was here to see Oliver Twist – yes, that’s his real name, and yes he gets some great jokes from it. He even casually dropped the word ‘Dickensian’ at one point.

Twist opened with tales of arriving as a refugee in Ipswich, Queensland. His journey is both heartbreaking and fascinating, escaping the Rwandan genocide as a child, and spending 14 years in Malawi refugee camps, before arriving to a small town as the only male in the only African family. His biggest laughs of the night came from his stories from Malawi – his roadside stall selling bootleg music which grew to his very own ‘pornhub,’ and the early days in Ipswich when he gets invited to his first bring-a-plate dinner by bringing a plate.

Twist also told stories of awful 2014 Australian racism, a hard topic to get laughs from, but conveyed with such spirit they inspire both laughs and empathy. His stories are peppered with aside jokes and moments of reflection, making the night feel very authentic. Also for someone who learnt English from sitcoms less than a decade ago, his skill as a communicator is remarkable.

However, as a comedian, Twist was still clunky in this performance. He lacked the smooth pass from one story to the next, which were disrupted with awkward pauses while he recalled his next ‘bit.’ Twist shows promise…with more practice needed. This was most evident at the end of the show which felt particularly abrupt. It was as though the clock ticked over, and off he strode with no final joke, no punchline – just a confused audience checking the time.

MELISSA MANN

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