I’d heard so much about Barry Morgan and his wonderful World of Organs from friends, and seen so much of him on Youtube, that I had built some idea of what I expected Barry Morgan is Out of This World to be in my head.
The reality was everything I had hoped for, but packaged in a way I wasn’t expecting.
Many comedy shows, particularly those built around characters, are framed within the conceit of an experience. Props, music, lighting, and costumes are all used to evoke the feeling of this experience in the audience’s mind. I’ve seen good and bad examples over the years, but Barry Morgan is the first act that really made me feel like I was just sitting around in someone’s suburban living room.
The most interesting part of it is that he achieves it almost entirely through his actions. Despite the show being largely centred around his organ, with the odd filthy pun, Barry Morgan is extremely mobile. He gets up into the seats, he elicits audience participation and will drag a few victims up to help him. The fourth wall is never allowed to descend, so the show just never felt like a show. It felt like one of Barry’s famous Home Organ Parties.
Barry Morgan is Out of This World is ostensibly centred around space-themed music; movie and TV theme songs, songs with the word ‘moon’ in the title, ‘Space Oddity’ because of course, etc. I can’t say the theme ever really felt important to the show, even as it dictated the song choices, but ‘space’ is one of those themes that can run out of air very quickly and leave the audience drifting off, if not handled right.
But if there’s one thing you go to Barry Morgan to see, and if there’s one thing Barry Morgan can definitely do, it’s play the organ. Morgan’s years of experience as a pianist are clearly seen and just listening to him play is worth the price of admission alone.
But be prepared to experience a complete living room pantomime in Barry Morgan is Out of This World. You will sing, you might have to dance, you will wave various extremities in the air and some of you may leave with a brand new moustache.
If you’ve never seen Barry Morgan before, this is definitely the time to do it.
Barry Morgan is Out of this World is on at the Malthouse Theatre until 23 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available online or at the venue.