Comedy shows exploring travel tend to be comedic lectures that provide amusing facts and figures about the destinations with variable accuracy. Andrew McClelland’s A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe goes beyond this by presenting a narrative of intrigue, adventure and many wacky shenanigans. From the opening song and dance number you know you are in for a great time.
In a “get to know the tour group” activity, McClelland assigns the audience identities, either as part of social groups or individuals. These characters pop up during the course of the tour with some getting more things to do than others. The amusing misadventures of these travellers are often described in retrospect (as in “the footy club certainly got drunk last night”) and he gently pressures us as a group into making decisions about what what we should do next. This leaves a little bit of wiggle room for McClelland to react and riff on our responses but this is essentially a linear story. There’s one segment of audience participation where someone joins Andrew on stage, but all that’s required of everyone else is to laugh and cheer when their characters are mentioned from the safety of their seats.
Our tour is narrated in brilliant detail by McClelland with the odd sequence of images from Google Earth to help set the scene. There is some clever wordplay in describing our surrounds as well as the lame puns you would expect from most guides. He is peppy and comically upbeat no matter how pear-shaped things are going, be it from encounters with a rival tour group or unexpected route detours due to our highly unreliable mode of transport. Andrew weaves a terrific yarn, keeping us invested in the story with his infectious enthusiasm.
Although you probably won’t learn many useful things about the places we visit, this is a rolicking fun hour. With such a packed itinerary that criss-crosses Europe, it’s a good thing we are merely armchair travellers. This high paced show would be too exhausting otherwise!
A Seated Walking Tour of Western Europe is on at The Coopers Malthouse -The Tower until April 22