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Steve Hall's Very Still Life
Published on Monday, 22 August 2011

2 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Steve Hall begins with what is, essentially, a ten-minute-long fart joke, and when the audience fails to be very amused he wonders if this is because we have a low tolerance for smutty material.  Later, when some different racy stuff gets a laugh, he wonders if we are purposely messing with his mind.  Sadly, the truth is that his first piece didn’t get a lot of laughs because it wasn’t very funny.  It’s not a very good sign.

Hall, from the sketch group We Are Klang, tells us that he met his wife to be a couple of years ago.  They got married and then a hold-up with her visa – she’s Australian – meant that they couldn’t be together for 8 months. A lot of Hall’s show is about this, but he doesn’t really do anything to earn our empathy about this situation.  All I really felt was that, although I was sure it was was all a very big deal for the them both, I found it hard to care about this inconvenience suffered by two people I don’t know.

A lot of Hall’s jokes rely on recounting funny things others have said: his wife, a German student he once knew, his dad.  Some of the things his dad says are weird statements about gay men.  I felt uncomfortable that Hall was getting laughs from these remarks, but distancing himself form the sentiment behind them.  Hall seems a likeable, competent comic, but lines about ‘getting bummed’ are pretty lazy, even if they are third-person reports.

In fact, so much material in the show rested on cheap laughs about gay sex or how horrible men’s bodies are, that a lot of time could have been saved if he had just informed us at the top of the show that he was straight... and then moved on to other, hopefully more original, topics.

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