Festival favourite Larry Dean is back for his third year in a row, with yet another spectacular show, Bampot. In addition to being incredibly funny, this show is also a personal and at times melancholic one. It is a show where the audience walks away sore from laughing, but aching from the familiarity of a strangers experiences. Maybe even with a tear or two in your eye.
If you have seen Dean before, you will likely be familiar with the characters in his life, including but not limited to, his kindly mother and his Australian boyfriend, Luke. This year dives a little deeper into his past, pulling the audience in, making it feel as though it’s not a stand up show at all, rather an intimate chat between friends.
Though a little funnier than the average catch up with friends, you leave feeling as if you know more about Dean and perhaps about yourself. Any youngest child will empathise with some of the themes and anyone who has ever been in a relationship will see themselves in others. In that way, this show is revealing of not just Dean, but everyone.
Dean ties together the stories from his childhood to tales more recent with the skills of a master weaver. Some tales are whimsical and others thought provoking, but the audience is riveted to each one equally. The moments of wistfulness are quickly followed by silliness and a touch of smut, flipping the mood of the audience in a second. It’s an incredible talent and Dean just gets better, year after year.
The dissection of the various facets of romantic relationships is easily recognisable to anyone who’s ever been in one and there were more than a few couples nudging each other, as if to say “that’s you”. It’s always wonderful to see performers connect with an audience in those ways and Dean does it with such ease.
I left from this show incredibly moved and I can’t see how anyone couldn’t. Dean plays on the nostalgia of childhood with a master touch. It may not have been the story Dean wanted to tell, but it’s an amazing show nonetheless.
Bampot is on at ACMI til Apr 21