Andy Matthews : String Theory

By Noel Kelso

Former RAW Comedy finalist Andy Matthews’ new show String Theory is silly. Very, very silly. It is also very, very clever. To explain how the two are connected you may need to be either very clever indeed or just open to the absurd ideas and stories Matthews puts together in this show. Possibly both, because those ideas are sometimes surreal, sometimes profound and often quite touching.

So – what is String Theory?

Well, it could be just a series of tall tales told on stage by a man with thick glasses and blonde hair, accompanied by a wandering live soundtrack provided by Mitchell Berk twiddling nobs from the side of the stage.

During the show the audience learns the innermost thoughts of Captain Flinders; hears how the loneliest man in the world fills his life; is made privy to how the capitalist economy was ultimately saved; hears a bush poem detailing the videogaming triumphs of an octogenarian farmer and peers into the decision-making process for selecting a new national anthem.

Are any of these things connected?

Possibly. It depends on your perspective and whether or not you can see in eleven dimensions – but that’s not important.

This is a show full of intelligent, surreal comedy which brims with ideas and which leaves the audience laughing and thinking.

Matthews delivers his material in deadpan fashion, rather like someone giving a rather plain lecture. This juxtaposition of the absurd with the mundane only serves to accentuate the humour in each of the tales. He is clearly very comfortable on stage, delivering his stories with a casual manner which makes it all the more easy for the audience to engage with the material and laugh along. This is very much a show which requires repeat viewing as Matthews has crammed so many ideas and subtle gags into his fifty minutes that afterward it may be difficult to remember every hilarious little aspect.

String Theory is on at ACMI – Games Room until April 6