The title of Murphy McLachlan’s Fringe show, Murphy McLachlan has Corn Chips, is also the best description of this show I can give. You go in and sit down, and he offers you some corn chips. Sold. Who even needs to see the show? Well, me, apparently.
The first impression I got from McLachlan is that he seemed familiar, so familiar in fact that I’m almost positive I’ve seen him at another comedy act. (Upon further digging, it turned out to be at Heckle this year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.) His comedy style is distinctive, an almost corny upfront angle at stand-up comedy that works so well because of how cheesy it is. He manages to capture the audience entirely with his easy going personality and doesn’t need to grovel for applause, because we already want to give it to him: he’s simply likeable.
McLachlan’s material appears to be aimless rambling at times, jumping onto topic after topic in a traditional style of stand-up comedy. His stage presence allows this and encourages it: he’s not quite charming, not quite awkward, just comfortable on stage and in telling his jokes.
Despite the somewhat impromptu nature of the show, McLachlan clearly has a layout and rhythm in the direction of his material, devoting a section of the night towards one liners and gag jokes (truly terrible ones, but entertaining nonetheless). He seamlessly works background noises into the act, something that draws big laughs from the audience numerous times, and is never left awkwardly grasping at silence instead of a reaction.
The small stage at the Improv Conspiracy Office serves him well, as does the small audience that fills the room. A stage or audience any bigger and McLachlan might struggle to gather enough laughs to transition throughout the act as seamlessly as he does. The smaller stage helps create the intimacy within the crowd as he states that all his material is genuine and not exaggerated, making his tale about a pet goldfish, and subsequent song about the goldfish (Murphy Jr.) that much funnier.
Murphy McLachlan is a definite see at this years Fringe if you enjoy classic stand-up, and his approach is entertaining for anyone that just likes a good joke. Or some corn chips while you watch a show.
Murphy McLachlan has Corn Chips is showing at the Improv Conspiracy Office until the 25th of September. Tickets are available from the Melbourne Fringe website.