Some sparkling improv saves what was an occasionally gruelling hour from Matthew Kelly
He’s not a one trick pony, nor are his encounters with his public mean or malicious. For all his languid demeanour, he’s quick on his comebacks – and it was in the brilliance of some of his ripostes that the potential of this kind of haphazard unscripted character-driven comedy really started to sparkle. The unexplained absurdity of his creation, the misnomer of the title (there’s no music involved), the obscure topics of conversation – all this makes for a strangely compelling stage presence.
As a show, however, it’s still largely lacking and it begins to take its toll – ultimately there is not enough material to warrant an hour. The second half predominantly centred around one unlucky audience member, whose life was put up for inspection – and while there was no nastiness about it, and there were many funny moments (particularly a good angel/bad angel dialogue), its success was almost certainly down to this particular individual, who remained unflustered, took it on the chin, and had more than a few things to say for himself. When a less capable audience member is called upon, I imagine a lead balloon would float better.
Matthew Kelly is a wonderful performer and it will be exciting to see how his act develops. Currently he’s got the character but not the material. With a bit more structure (while not losing the off-the-cuff retorts), this could develop into something truly enjoyable.
Matthew Kelly the Musical is on at 2.50pm at Buffs Club
Review written by Sarah Sharp