Every once in a while, a performance comes out of left field and leaves you struggling to find the correct words to describe it. It leaves you a bit mystified. As a reviewer of one of these shows, that poses a bit of a problem, as you can imagine.
Written and adapted by Melbourne writer Anthony Noack, The Preacher is a digital theatre performance of the Hebrew’s Bible book of Ecclesiastes veiled as modern stand-up comedy. It stars David ‘Dave’ Davidson performing his debut comedy show to no audience amid the Victorian lockdown.
With a simple black curtain as his backdrop and glass of “the biblical beverage” red wine atop a stool as his companion, Davidson sets about an exploration of theological insight and comedy, of performing and preaching. “What jokes can you tell other than those told before? The biggest joke of all is life itself, and good luck trying to understand that punchline. Though we try,” muses Davidson. These thoughts essentially sum up The Preacher – unoriginal jokes plus life musings with a religious twist. It may sound simple enough, but it is not. In fact, the performance is an intelligent, sometimes perplexing philosophical interpretation of biblical writings that uses humour and rhetoric to replicate an archaic preacher as a contemporary comedian.
The script is clever and tight. It successfully finds a balance between cringeworthy and thoughtful while keeping the audience on its toes with its accelerated ruminations. Davidson is a captivating and engaging speaker who embodies the words spoken.
The Preacher may be a quandary for some. It is a philosophical diatribe that skilfully likens a preacher to a comedian via examination of seemingly unconnected themes. It is a different type of Fringe show to the norm but a worthy one.
Fringe Review By Anita Kertes
For show info and tickets to The Preacher head to FringeTix