Wil Anderson’s show Wiluminati was a fast paced, witty performance that kept the audience in a state of continuous laughter. After introducing himself, Anderson took to the stage and proceeded to create a powerful atmosphere of camaraderie and shared experiences.
The beautiful Comedy Theatre was quite a contrast to other Comedy festival shows I have seen in much smaller venues. Built in 1928 and seating 997 people, it is a beautiful venue, and while larger than many other venues used throughout the festival, it was small enough to retain a sense of intimacy that works best with stand-up comedy. The bare stage was lit with a multitude of bare globes suspended at various heights and depths, which combined with a general blue glow and ample use of the smoke machine, created a great ambience. Anderson described it as if “100 hipsters all had ideas at the same time”.
While the scene was visually appealing, there was no need for any elaborate setting, as once Anderson took the stage, he had the audience riveted and their attention was on him 100%.
Anderson began the show with references to his age and the joys of the 80’s –for example the Walkman and its inferior successor, the Discman. I had not realized we were from the same generation, and while everyone could appreciate his humour, it rang particularly true for those of us who lived through the introduction of the first iPod.
Anderson exudes warmth and charisma on stage and present his material with boundless energy and enthusiasm. So much so that it sometimes appears that he can barely get his words out, he is speaking so fast and with such passion. The jokes, and the expletives, come thick and fast.
It was a little surprising that the host of a show like The Gruen Transfer avoided more than a passing reference to any sober societal issues. In fact he deliberately avoided any serious moments – chastising the audience that ‘this is not Oprah’ or ‘a TEDTalk’ when they encouraged him for a few passing references to more serious issues, and quickly jumping to a frivolous punch-line to make his point clear. Anderson was not afraid, however, to make himself vulnerable by making light of his own personal hardships and embarrassments.
Overall, the show was highly entertaining, barely leaving the audience time to breathe, never mind think of anything else. In fact, while I give the show 5 stars, the highest recommendation I can give is that it had me reaching for my rarely used Asthma Inhaler!