MICF - Jonno Katz: Cactus, the seduction...

Ho hum, just another comedy festival show about an adrenaline-pumped maniac debating with his subconscious as he treks through the arid desert of Mexico with a bizarre Russian by his side. Been there, done that, bought the tequilla. Okay, sarcasm over. It’s hard to find anything to compare Jonno Katz’s Cactus with. It’s an exotic mix of stand up, character acting, psychoanalysis, melodrama and some goddam good thespianism, all performed deep in the bowels of the Victoria Hotels “Toilet”, or something similar to that name. The energy levels are high throughout the show, with Katz developing a thick layer of sweat as he frenetically zooms around the stage, moving seemlessly through half a dozen characters and back again. Conceptually, the show is clever. The ideas are good, the narrative is strong, and Katz is a performer who clearly enjoys his work. The writing is weak, though, and the gags dribble out with little impact, often barely registering on the Cack-O-Meter. It seems like a lot of labour to get to each punchline, and once we the audience gets there it often wonders why it bothered. Remarkably, this show boasts rave reviews from the Canadian press, where it has been performed previously. Obviously Canadians laugh at very different things to what Australians do. That, or they’re mad. Cactus is a brave endeavour, and it certainly stands out from a crowded programme of middle-of-the-road stand up at the Festival. Is it funny, though? Nyet.

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