Cameron James – Mixtape

By Lisa Clark

Cameron James is a talented musical comedian who’s been around for a while popping up on TV and at gigs, but this is my first full show with him and his glorious, hilarious (I don’t use this word lightly), gorgeously romantic Mixtape really blew me away.

The atmosphere is set for the audience as we enter with nostalgic and emotionally charged house music. On stage there is an old fashioned boom box, Cameron’s electric guitar and the ubiquitous screen. Most shows I’ve seen this year have had a screen, but Cameron uses it fairly sparingly and intelligently, helping the audience with the witty lyrics of the songs, and giving us a real glimpse into his past.

Cameron is very relaxed on stage with the vibe of a mate telling you some jawdropping stories in a pub or at a party. He also has the perfect show ice-breaker, a funny song on his guitar about teen love and been ferried about by your dad. It’s a banger that gets the audience’s toes tapping and the audience feel safe and warmed up for a brilliant hour of laughs.

The laughs come thick and fast with belly laughs hitting and tears flowing. Tears of laughter and tears of poignancy. There are not as many songs as I’d expected from a Mixtape. I thought it might be a list of 10 songs with a show wrapped around it but there were only 4 or 5 songs and they were intertwined in the story, moving it along and telling their own tales, like the songs do in the best musicals.

A love letter to growing up in Newcastle, hanging out with his daggy mates, growing up, dreaming of kissing a girl and meeting her at a blue light disco. SMS messenger, slam dancing, young love and a first job. Cameron is a stunning, evocative storyteller, conjuring nostalgia for an audience who were not there but can easily relate.

At the centre of it all is an epic tale that involves a speeding ticket, his first job at a horror themed dinner theatre restaurant called Koffin that becomes a dream job and turns into a nightmare. This has a bit of a vibe of the TV show The Bear, where he brings the characters of the skanky venue to life and even the worst become somewhat lovable. The tale is insane, hilarious and goes to unexpected places. It includes a whole medieval style temptation by the devil vs angel type thing that is just the cherry on the top for me.

Mixtape is a show full of really awesome, original comedy songs and beautiful insights by a grown man looking back to his youth. He admits to his follies and some dumb decisions, but it never gets very dark. This is musical comedy after all. He may be looking at his past through slightly rose coloured glasses, but with a show this funny, who needs the ugly truth? I cannot recommend this show more highly, but particularly for lovers of romance. This is one to take your crush to, it might just get you laid.

Cameron James Mixtape is on at Rydges Two until April 21