Jimmy Rees @ Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide 21/9/2023

A different kind of viral has taken over Australia, and Jimmy Rees is in the thick of it!

The former Giggle & Hoot host turned social media content creator during the COVID years because…Melbourne (IYKYK). His content took on a life of its own as legions of people flocked to view his comedy sketches online. Amassing substantial follower and ‘like’ numbers across platforms Facebook (1M+ followers), YouTube (157k subscribers), Twitter (15k followers), TikTok (1.3M followers + 33.1M Likes) and Instagram (470k followers), Rees grew from strength to strength as he shed his children’s entertainer persona.

Now, on his second national tour, Rees brought the online funnies to life with two massive shows in one night at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Tarntanya/ Adelaide.

With a simple set consisting of a yellow door flanked by two vertical projector screens, the foundations for the evening were laid. Simplicity was the key. Until it wasn’t.

Akin to Kip Williams’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a play with one actor (Eryn Jean Norvill) starring as 26 live and pre-recorded characters, Not That Kind of Viral opened with Rees adopting a similar role. Thanks to the wonder of editing, a video played on the screens where he simultaneously starred as the Stage Manager, orchestra, and audience members.

Then, for the remainder of the night, the real Jimmy Rees walked in and out of the yellow door.

Whether he was a character or himself was a potluck, really. But whoever it was generated laughter.
Bringing to fruition his online skits, Border Control and The Guy Who Decides, among others, tickled the audience. Throwing in a handful of Adelaide references generated raucous laughter despite its unoriginality. Thankfully, that was done and dusted early because we could get to the good stuff sooner.

There was audience interaction, the awkwardly hilarious Jennifer’s Kiss Cam, Meanwhile in Brighton, the Butcher, and more. Each live skit was followed by a pre-recorded video skit, allowing Rees time to recoup behind the door. However, when the two mediums, live and pre-recorded, entwined, it was comedy gold.

Judge Jimmy’s courtroom tested Rees’s comedy chops as he starred as seven characters. He passed with flying colours. The timing of mixed-medium conversations and actions/ reactions was flawless. Plus, it was just funny.

Rees’s interactions with the audience were off the cuff and added to the personable nature of the show. He was quick-witted and ready to tackle anything thrown at him. This increased the overall enjoyability. His understanding of what audiences want enabled him to pace to perfection. The final skit, a live rendition of one of his viral videos, sans editing, was the ideal conclusion, leaving everyone on a high.

Jimmy Rees has metamorphosized as a performer over the years. Whether you were a fan during his Giggle & Hoot days or discovered him via his online shenanigans, the Not That Kind of Viral tour is exactly the kind of fun the Doctor ordered.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

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