I had never heard of Lawrence Mooney until I moved to Melbourne, which is a shame because I had clearly missed-out on a very funny comedian.
His latest show ‘Surely Not’ is a comedic rumination on all things familial prompted by the demise of a relative back in the UK. This mournful event is the catalyst for a world-crossing journey with his two brothers and prompts a lot of thoughts on the nature of life and death and family relationships, from which Mooney manages to extract a surprising amount of comedy and a healthy dose of pathos.
If you are as much a comedy tragic as myself and go to any of the billions (I counted) of regular comedy rooms which pepper the streets of this city then you will no-doubt have encountered Mooney’s friendly and convivial style of banter many times over. And it’s still funny.
Mooney has been performing on the circuit for twenty years and continues to make people laugh uproariously with his droll observational routines and scathing commentaries on politics and celebrity.
His ability to engage an audience no matter the size is testament to this man’s skills as a storyteller and comedian. Through subtle use of facial expressions and changes in stance he can have people simply incapacitated with laughter through the recognition of the situation being projected through the absurd lens of his world-view.
He talks about travelling to Liverpool to sort the estate of his deceased uncle with his two elder brothers and how the sibling hierarchy established when they were all children still holds sway even though they are in their fifties. This provides ample opportunity for his keen skill for mimicry as he delivers lines in a credible scouse accent.
There is talk of how each child has their place determined by the order in which they arrive and of the strange quirks which well-meaning parents pass-on and can be humiliating when at school. This is a journey through life and the strange little bits early on which can affect you forever and it had the audience in stitches from start to finish.
As a comic, Mooney has a very polished performance style. He is clearly at home on stage and betrays none of the nerves which would beset anyone performing to the large crowds who attend his shows. His ease of delivery when he utters each line has the effect of making the audience give him their complete attention even as they wipe the tears of laughter away from the last comedic jab.
The evening concludes on a touching note with a lovely tribute to his uncle which he and his brothers organised and recorded whilst in Liverpool as a mark of respect.
This is an excellent night out with plenty of laughs and pointed remarks on the nature of family, emotional coping mechanisms and his relief at not having to re-write the show if Tony Abbott had been sacked. All seamlessly connected through laughter.
Lawrence Mooney – Surely Not is playing at The Forum Theatre, Flinders Street until April 5th and then at Melbourne Town Hall from April 14th until 19th.