Xander Allen is a man of contradictions. A self described dog person, he has quite a few routines involving cats. He boasts of being immensely lazy yet a hell of a lot of work has gone into his debut Comedy Festival show Fashion and what an impressive debut it is.
As promised we got tales of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and of course fashion but they are not as decadent as you would expect from this colourful fellow. Allen may look like a cocky rockstar come comedian but he regales us with hilarious tales of misadventure and circumstance, with the odd wacky theory thrown in, rather than telling us of his conquests and what he thinks we need to know. On paper his set list may look like one belonging to every other 20/30 something comedian but he gives everything a unique spin and takes us to wholly unexpected and immensely fun places.
Allen keeps himself lower status throughout which perfectly suits his persona as a laid back dude going with the flow, as life throws all sorts of crazy challenges his way. We get plenty of amusingly original metaphors expanded to their logical conclusion. His 80’s rock and 90’s movie references do require prior knowledge to get the most out of them but he delivers them with such confidence that you go with he train of thought regardless. Wild stories with a cast of colourful characters are highly entertaining as he re-enacts the scenarios with plenty of colour and movement. Often he follows his bits up with a comical exclamation to the heavens to add a silly cherry on top.
A fascinating and engaging performer, Allen has delivered the goods (certainly helped with a similarly billed show at Melbourne Fringe as warm up). The forty five minutes spent in his company seemed to fly by and we could have easily listened to him for twice that. He’s already nailed the golden rule of show-business; always leave them wanting more.
Fashion is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 20