Comedian Alice Fraser is talkative as you walk into the room tucked into the recesses of the Town Hall. Fraser has a gentle demeanour before the show starts, chatting amiably with the crowd while everyone else files in. She asks if there are any topics anyone might be distressed by, so that she can warn you if they come up in the show. She asks about why you’ve chosen to see her, and tells you about her spider bite. She eases you into her world. Then the doors close and the show lifts off with such comedic speed you’ll wish you had a seat belt.
Fraser, whose live recordings of her past three comedy shows were produced by the ABC as a podcast (the Trilogy), is very capable of blending rapid, intelligent punchlines with equally rapid emotional gut punches. She’s done with pretending to not know exactly what she’s doing, after too many reviews couldn’t tell the difference between performed uncertainty and the real deal. Fraser is smart, and she has every right to be demonstrating it. Every aspect of the show (except the spider bite) is a deliberate choice, executed with laughter in mind. With MYTHOS, Fraser has crafted an erudite, eloquent hour of storytelling and stand up that interrogates narrative and perspective.
The humour of MYTHOS is equally brilliant. Fraser is an expert performer, and a very good banjo player. She powers through any small slip-ups without pause. The jokes are fast and smart, so don’t feel bad if some fly past so quickly you can’t catch them – there’s definitely more coming. Fraser’s sense of humour could be considered ‘dark’, and there are a few topics that might cause some titters from the audience, but look, she did warn you when you walked in. Besides, Fraser is an incredibly respectful comic, and throwaway lines aside, she has written the show in such a way that her audience would follow her anywhere.
Fraser draws on her own life, her in-depth understanding of rhetorical concepts and her banjo to deliver one of the funniest shows at MICF this year. See it while you can.
MYTHOS is on at the Melbourne Town Hall as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available from the MICF website.