MICF 2018 review: Tom Walker delivers fast-paced madness and absurdity
COMEDY FESTIVALTOM WALKER: HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK ★★★★ACMI, until April 22
Last year, Tom Walker's absurd mix of mime, word play and flights of fancy took some time to bring audiences on board. This year, he overcomes this problem by using his "audience welcome simulator": an Asteroids-style computer game that members of the audience are given the opportunity to play as they file into the venue, which features Walker's face shooting "hellos" at punters (and the occasional critic).
By the time the final few stragglers are seated, everyone is ready to laugh. Walker wastes no time launching into his bizarre world, jumping from physical comedy to absurd impressions, prop gags and a silly bit of film noir narration all in the first few minutes.
The pace is relentless and he quickly has the crowd in hysterics. It would be nigh impossible to maintain such momentum for a full hour and Walker doesn't quite manage it. Some segments leave the audience more bemused than amused: an excruciating bit about bestiality, which we eventually learn is a deliberate attempt to make us uncomfortable, requires a bit of time to recover from.
Walker will not appeal to everyone; while the vast majority of the near-sellout crowd were clearly having a great time, two young women in the front row looked like they were having the worst hour of their lives. But for those of us who were tuned into Walker's mad wavelength, that just made it funnier.