Melbourne Fringe review: Brewed Thoughts: Consummate Professional
2017 is, in Blake Willoughby’s own words, like the hangover of 2016; we’ve gone out and partied hard the night before, then we’ve rolled over the morning after and woken up to find Donald Trump sharing the bed (huge mistake. Huuuuuuuuuuge!). That thought alone is enough to make anyone reach for the brain bleach (in my case, tequila), but Blake has something different in mind. He’s crafted a series of exclusive beers to accompany his show; an “Inoffensive” Pale Ale, a “Contradiction” Black IPA, and finally a “Cathartic” Honey Brown Ale. This is Brewed Thoughts: Consummate Professional, a show that doesn’t mind sharing a cold one with its mates.
As the first of the beers is served by BeerMan (a man dressed as, no points for guessing…), Blake, ever the consummate professional, regales the audience with beer facts. The “Inoffensive” Pale Ale (4.7%) is a light, easy, refreshing way to begin the proceedings, but ironically some of the most potentially offensive jokes of the evening accompany it, as Blake launches into a tangential rant about masturbation, much to the hilarity of his audience, and I would imagine slight cringe-worthiness from his parents (he informed us that his parents and sister were in the audience that night, and insisted to them he would present exactly the same show). His material about the comment section on porn websites was well received and whimsical, and he very humorously subverted expectations with his jokes about late night SBS.
More beer facts come with the next beer of the evening, the “Contradiction” Black IPA (6.5%); at this point, Blake also takes a moment to inform the audience that, this being quite high alcohol percentage-wise, it’s probably best to take it a little slowly, and definitely not to overdo it if you’re driving home (Brewed Thoughts offers a discounted “Designated Driver” ticket for those who’d prefer not to indulge). The hint to this section of his show is right there on the label, a Black India Pale Ale. Here the humour is focussed on some of the regular contradictions of his life; he describes himself as “Proactively Lazy”, willing to go the extra mile for short-term solutions to long-term problems, how Past!Blake is always causing problems that Future!Blake will have to fix because Current!Blake can’t be arsed. There’s a nice little diatribe about getting poached eggs at a cafe which I found hilariously relatable.
“Last drinks” are called with the “Cathartic” Honey Brown Ale (4.7%), and the final round of beer facts. It’s smooth and sweet and exactly what it says on the label. With catharsis comes acceptance, and things are brought to a nice close with the revelation that Blake was a prize winning child model as a baby, and one of the most inspiring de-motivationals ever; “winners are quitters”. There’s a real feeling of closeness, we’ve shared a drink and a laugh, the night is still young.
Blake Willoughby’s “Brewed Thought: Consummate Professional” is at 7:30pm at Mr Griffiths on the 28th and 29th. Tickets $40, $25 for Designated Drivers (but you don’t get beer).