George Dimarelos has a little confession at the top of his latest show, George Michael is Greek; but it’s not so much a George Michael tribute show as it is a tax write-off for he bought a jacket for a party. That being said, there are some indicators he could be onto something – he does open by dancing to one of two musical numbers by the notorious artist, and there are a couple of little factoids.
Dimarelos is energetic and engaging, and there’s something about his that says, “by the end of the show, we’re all going to be friends”. I certainly couldn’t not like him. It’s a shame, therefore, that on the night I saw him, he had to contend with what – to my mind – must be one of the most annoying hecklers of all, the “know-it-all”. While, when he asked for, or initiated audience participation, everything was friendly and smooth, frequent interjections from one particular person seemed, initially, to startle him a little. This was someone else trying – maybe not intentionally – to assert their own dominance. Fortunately, Dimarelos was quickly able to regain control and through charm and quick wit he never lost the audience or stumbled over his material. A good skill to have!
His material was somewhat eclectic, but never strayed from the idea of culture, especially cultural identity, which he professes to by fascinated by. A lot of that comes from the dichotomy between Australian and Greek culture; did you know that Melbourne boasts one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece? And that with many of the original white Australians as male convicts, maybe there’s more than a few things we have in common.
Dimarelos is well travelled as a comedian, and that shows in his understanding of the differences between the cultures, as well as what makes us the same, as humans, and his ability to draw comedy from them. If you’re eager to experience humour with a slight international twist, I would definitely recommend George Michael is Greek.
George Michael is Greek is at the Greek Centre 6pm Tues – Sat, 5pm Sunday, until 22 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available via the MICF website.