By James Shackell
There’s a universal humour in Dads that has something to do with daggy jokes, weird pockets of specialised interest, and a stubborn unwillingness to evolve with the world. Simmer that down with a healthy splash of mild exasperation and thinly-worn patience and you have the makings of a successful hour of comedy. That’s the recipe Adam Rozenbachs has followed with Eurodad and, mostly, he succeeds in serving up a delicious comedy meal.
But like most meals, you do have to warm it up first. See the problem is, at the start of the show, we as the audience don’t know Rozenbach’s dad from any other dad, so the comedic punch of his stories is weakened by the gulf between his familiarity and our ignorance. Rozenbach’s solution, however, is genius: he lets his Dad do half the talking via a pre-recorded audio interview that plays at intervals during the show. This device is actually responsible for some of the gig’s biggest laughs, leaving Rozenbachs in the strange position of almost being upstaged by his own father (a circumstance I’m sure he’d find as funny as anyone).
For instance it’s one thing to hear Rozenbachs describe his dad’s whinging in Paris, quite another to hear dad himself (in an indignant and slightly oblivious way) saying, “The Eiffel Tower? It wasn’t as big as it looked on TV. I reckon it should have been double the size.” Ahh, classic Dad.
It has to be said that Rozenbachs plays off his physically absent father beautifully, shaking his head in mock disbelief at every culturally insensitive comment, rolling his eyes at Dad’s weird obsession with European window hinges (and don’t even get him started on cobblestones).
This is a show for anyone with a father, anyone who has been to Europe, or anyone who wants to know what it would be like to go to Europe with their father without actually having to suffer through it.
Adam Rozenbachs is performing Eurodad at the Melbourne Town Hall Regent Room