Ethan Switch - Saturday, 30 April 2005
Relief stems the throat and sweat of Chris Addison as he prepares for the final stretch of this feature presentation, Civilization. Three more to go, he says, delighted at the prospect of finally taking to rest this show of his. Within the relaxing and intimate atmosphere, Addison strikes up an instant rapport, chatting calmly with the audience after the loud hush of the introduction.
With the title of the show clear from the start, the night rolls into a serious of markers and lessons in deconstructing the construction of a civilization. Control of the universe, the rules and rulers, cities and monetary concerns, just some of the chapters through the night. Taking points along the way, Addison briefs those in attendance with naked facts and opinions dressed in the furry overcoat of a wry style of delivery and acerbic observation.
All things which lead into the rather comfortable exchange and discussion with the audience. An audience, by Addison's own observation or admission, at being one of the not so sharp seen throughout his time Down Under. Friday night crowds and all that, sloshing their time without the burden of having to work up the courage for another regulation work day. Dressing up in loose attire for such a venue as that of the Sydney Opera House.
Definition on the meaning behind Mesopotamia unravelling any chance to uphold the upright tightness of a slacker city not entirely up there in the historical trivial pursuit. "Land between two waters" eventually comes from the back, and with that, a sudden flash of brilliance with the Euphrates and Tigris rivers hitting the comedian unexpectedly. From then on the crowd is for the main on the side of smarts with the comedian/teacher.
The rage against the machines of formality spew forth from Addison's lips like the spittle that hits the dark air. Forceful and passionate, Addison snatches various issues and precepts from the minds and asks rhetorically for reasons as to why such things are when they are clearly against the safety of the mind and supposed representations of a sound society. Road tolls, religions, social interactions and expectations, all fodder finely cut through and served with shreds of pickled seaweed under a side of salmon roe.
Not entirely up on the local culture, news or even the enunciation of cheer, an Australian woman in the back row, clearly drunk on her own American-style highs, takes a lot of time in dispelling the fear that the front row is the only firing line for comedians. Jerks also sit in the back row, targets with red marks blazing in through the darkness under and behind the spotlight.
Anyone wishing to cast dispersions and opinions over other cultures or countries need to heed this warning: back up the stand with solid statements. A woman at a table on the left of stage is taken to over her rather fickle dismissal of the Millennium Eye as being "British" for dull. Reactionary pavlovian laughs not attentive to the sheer emptiness behind the argument shot down by the reasonable and level head of Addison. Another, just in front of that woman (resting her feet on the stage no less) dashes of Addison's honeymoon locale of New Zealand as a "tawdry choice," despite enjoying God's own country and Middle-Earth herself.
Before the night is over into the final run home for another day, Addison asks the audience to seriously consider joining in on a pact. One to throw off future archeologists, they who would be intent on disturbing the residents six feet under before their fiftieth anniversary. One in which, if successful, will take down all future sociological grave robbers a few dozen notches in comprehension. Notes are not taken for the word of mouth pact. Individual decisions to commitment only to reveal a success later down the decades to follow as the world revolves again into the clearing of the slate.
Magnificently blending and blazing through a fast history lesson on the world, Addison caps off the night with a fervent proposal. One that outlines a Newtopia/Utopia for the current mind set, hell bent against the strains and pains of idiocy constantly marrying into inanity. Raw and feverish by the end of the night, the sign off and good night easily begs for a return lob; a gracious thanks for a brilliant, hilarious show and history lesson in one.