With its dual meaning Washed Up is a stylized autobiographical show about his experiences in Australia as an immigrant from Ireland. This series of fish out of water stories doesn’t offer any life changing revelations or character development, just lots of silly observations about being in a foreign land.
An introductory video of Mark McConnell wandering around St Kilda in a state of disillusionment creates the tone for the show and sets up some material for call backs. It contains only a few visual jokes (one requiring a google search for background to that particular locale) and does tend to drag.
Once he hits the stage, Mark lightens the mood with his charming persona and launches into the first of many hilarious stories. Tales such as those detailing living in a share house, random sexual encounters and his adventures out on the town delight the crowd. He even throws in some material about local issues which are given a naïve outsiders view to great effect.
While on the surface the topics he covers come dangerously close to being hack subjects, he does a brilliant job at weaving the jokes into tall tales of epic proportions. The ridiculous situations and the directions these stories take is a joy to behold. Mix in some self-deprecation to paint him as a bit of a lovable loser and you’re in for laughs a plenty. McConnell is a wonderful storyteller and his thick accent certainly helps sweeten the deal as he sells his wacky ideas with gusto.
His bragging about the taking the scenic route for some base humour is a bit too cocky for his stage persona. When a joke fell flat he came within an inch of blaming the audience for not picking up on an old Melbourne reference. While it was an interesting example of an immigrant done good, I assumed that it had been in the cultural zeitgeist well before Mark landed on our shores.
Those looking for an hour of enjoyable and amusing storytelling will find plenty to love here. He spins a good yarn, holds everyone attention and most importantly keeps them laughing.
Washed Up is on at Glamp Bar until April 9