Holden Street Theatres
Until 18 Mar 2018

Review by John Wells

Gordon Southern begins his hilariously acerbic monologue “That’s a Fact That’s Not Fun” with a bold declaration: “2016 was fucked”. He spends the next hour or so sweating it out in the sweltering Holden Street Studio going back to the 1980s and plotting a course forward through the events that combined to deliver Brexit and Trump to us all. Fucked indeed.

This is a frenzied, comic history lesson with serious intent. Southern traverses the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid, September 11, the Tiananmen Square killings (with stern advice to the kids – “learn Chinese!”), the carcinogenic properties of bacon, the Brixton riots, and the rise of the American right via the social lubricant of Fox News, weaving historical and political moments together to examine the two democratic shocks of 2016. And he takes the credit for freeing Nelson Mandela.

Gordon Southern is charismatic, sharp and very funny. The writing is clever and pointed. While this is a precisely-scripted show, Southern’s skill as a performer and experience as a stand-up comedian mean his delivery feels immediate and off-the-cuff. He is both affable and rigorous.

Southern is preaching to choir a little. The clearly left-leaning theatre crowd lapped up his schtick eagerly. Southern is not self-righteous; he beautifully skewers his own politics by admitting to some failings, including (gasp) still driving a diesel.

This is a wonderful, fast hour of intelligent comedy. Take Cory Bernardi with you.

4 stars (out of 5)