Comedy Review: Who, Me - The Rhino Room, Adelaide (31.05.13)

The Rhino Room, home to Adelaide’s comedic best (plus some excellent parties), has been transformed into a TARDIS. The front door of the venue is no longer the normal door, but the front door of a blue police box. I realise I’m there before ‘doors’ have opened, though the Who-nerd in me wants to assume that the TARDIS is protective of who she lets inside. It’s also raining tonight, which, along with the above, can only mean one thing to fans of the show (more recently the revived series)…there’s been some Time Lord activity in the area.

…Well, as close as we’re going to get to it.

Rob Lloyd’s one man production of Who, Me is finishing it’s Adelaide run tonight and from everything I’ve read online in the lead up to tonight’s show, it’s been quite the successful one for the Melbourne-based comedian. Once I’ve downed a coffee at the Howling Owl next door and have bought another drink to nurse through the opening comedy acts, I’m nestled in amongst the packed room of people here to get their nerd humour on.

The ‘openers’ tonight warmed the crowd up well, even if there were some moments of collective awkwardness in the audience during Mark Tripodi’s erotic sci-fi fan fiction reading. MC Amos Gill was brilliant in delivery and charisma, while I’m convinced that Adam Vincent and I are kindred spirits. A lot of Charles Barrington’s humour was lost on me – I kept associating him with a less witty version of Julian Barratt. He got laughs where needed, so I suppose that’s all that matters; there’s nothing worse than a silent room at a comedy show.

On to the main act. It was plainly obvious that by the third stand up set in, people were ready for Lloyd to take over. The girls behind me were pondering whether or not Lloyd would be wearing a bowtie tonight even though ‘he is clearly dressing up as David Tennant’. Doctor Who quips are going backward and forward as often as the Daleks have appeared since the show came back in 2005 and before long, we’re silenced by the show’s voiceover. Shit is actually about to get real.

The premise of the show (spoilers, sweeties) essentially sees Lloyd take us through major life events since the beginning of his obsession with the cult TV show to present, in trying to see if Doctor Who has ruined his life or in fact, made it more awesome. You can guess the conclusion we reach by the end of it all. The references to the show aren’t as huge an element to the show as I originally thought they would be, as they are cleverly intertwined with Lloyd’s hark backs to his university career in Wagga, to the hilarious story of how he came to be quite the lousy criminal in a quest to own VHS copies of classic Doctor Who stories. You don’t need to be a huge fan of the show or an aficionado to get the humour – you’ll know exactly what he’s talking about if you’ve had any obsession in your life.

Switching from Lloyd the Who fan, to Lloyd the prosecution attorney and back again as this ‘trial of a Time Lord’ continues sees Lloyd work up such a sweat onstage that his shirt goes an entire shade darker and he’s constantly wiping his face with a towel as if to suggest he’s just done a full four quarters of football. It’s quite impressive – I mean, clearly, this is a show he knows back to front, but as an audience member, I got no sense of complacency or boredom from him. Lloyd is a performer, and an extremely enthusiastic one at that, so for the most part, I sat in the audience just wondering how he managed to do it all.

I cannot go past his ‘movement piece’, a tribute to all eleven Doctors, via a hilarious and may I say, well-choreographed interpretive dance. The room was in a fit of laughs and rightly so. Who, Me is sharp, witty, easily relatable (whether or not you’re a fan of Who) and most of all, it doesn’t make fun of any one group of people. There is no negative humour here, which is so refreshing and as much as Lloyd may cringe at this, the way he strutted about the stage and threw absolutely every part of himself into each bit of the show…it reminded me quite a bit of a certain Scottish actor who he may or may not bear a slight resemblance to.

The show is headed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and so I can only wish Lloyd the best of luck, taking this show to the UK is like taking it back to the motherland. I’ve no doubt it’ll go down well, the Brits need as much Who comedy as they can to make them feel better ahead of Matt Smith’s recently announced departure from the lead role of Time Lord. Perhaps it’s time for an Australian? *cough*