MICF - Rich Hall
In his earlier visits to Melbourne, Rich Hall was an angry, middle aged man, ranting and raving as he treaded the boards, spraying the audience with his fiery (and hilarious) anger as he dwelled on all the things that were wrong with the world. This year, though, Hall appears to have mellowed. Rather than genuine anger at the state of the planet, Hall is in a playful mood, happily riffing with the audience and even showing rare signs of charm, a trait usually completely devoid in the Hall persona. True, his past couple of shows in Melbourne have featured Hall’s alter-ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, a character far more criminal than charming, but this year Crenshaw has been rested and Hall is back as himself. Hall has a largely structure-less show, happily meadering back and forth between the keyboard and the open mic, telling stories that may or may not ever reach a conclusion. There are a couple of moments at Hall at his razor-sharp best, when he transcends his own lethargy, such as a hilarious couple of jokes at the expense of a few public figures (think Wacko Jacko) as well as a rather cerebral tune on playing scrabble with a cheating lover (“you could have played HEART but it came out HATER…I don’t need these ACRIMONIES, so I’m moving to MICRONESIA”). Some songs may work, a couple completely and utterly bomb, but either way a charitable audience is happy to be in the company of a brilliant comic mind and a decent bloke.