Simon Chugg is Living the Dream

By Alanta Colley

Simon Chugg has lived a life less ordinary. A black boy growing up in a white family. A restless soul always looking for a way to express itself. A curious spirit that has sojourned down many an unknown path looking for enlightenment. And a man who never lost the ability to laugh at himself, even when times were tough.

Chugg takes us back to the days of his childhood; his role models the heroes in the comics he read. He tells of the band he and his mates put together; a dubious homage to the heavy metal bands they worshiped. Chugg surprises us with some footage of the band’s epic performances. We learn of Chugg’s struggling days as an actor, being one of a handful of freelance actors who are black in Australia; and the stereotypes he was chronically cast as. We hear about his journeys down various avenues of spirituality. Woven through all Chugg’s narrative are dreams, both actual and metaphorical, which have played a hauntingly prophetic role in his life.

Chugg is warm and friendly with his audience; responding generously on this evening to interjections from the slightly inebriated audience. His life story is a unique one, and he presents it without excessively emphasising the trials or the triumphs, presenting them frankly and honestly.

This show was friendly and fun. The only drawbacks included the occasional dependence on pop culture references that left some of the audience behind. Chugg’s delivery also sounded a little too much like a memorised script, even though the content asked for a more conversational tone. But these were forgivable and all in all it was an enjoyable hour where we felt connected to Chugg.

This is a tale of friendship, adventure, laughing at shortcomings and set backs, and making the most of what you have. You’ll leave the venue with a spring in your step.

Living the Dream is on at Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets until April 19