A Brief History Of History

Darien O Reilly, The Punch | Posted on March 13th, 2012

A brief history of the world: Best of the Adelaide Fringe

This second instalment on the Adelaide Fringe looks at Gordon Southern: International World Clown and Spontaneous Broadway, who will be playing Melbourne Comedy Festival next month.

Gordon Southern’s A Brief History of History aims to present the history of history in an hour. The self proclaimed International World Clown aims to roam freely throughout the many cultures and empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages and introduce the many weird and wonderful aspects of life and recorded history to us.

He throws a modern spotlight upon these older cultures in an often hilarious manner The pacing is machine gun. He highlights the absurdity integral to history and utilises PowerPoint in a manner which many university lecturers could learn from.

A series of dodgy and hilarious short raps help explain certain points and highlight particularly nonsensical parts. Southern has an obvious deep affection for history and this abiding interest helps connect the tide of information from being too overwhelming. He occasionally plays a bit fast and loose with the facts, but then Wikipedia is not the most infallible of tools.

His audience interaction is relaxed and smooth, he utilises entertaining aspects provided by them and will gently tease but in a friendly and almost welcoming manner. He is mischievous and more than a tad naughty and it’s his ad-libbing and back-and-forth banter with the audience that shows his many years of stand-up experience.

The show cracks along at such a pace that nuggets of comedy gold can be overlooked as joke piles upon pun and absurdity meshes with reality. There are moments where good taste is pushed but humour should never be held captive as political satire, parody and allegory have proven throughout the Ages. Southern presents a breezy, bright and exuberant show that zips along, utterly engaging the audience, entertaining and educating them in a wonderful and manic hour of comedy.

– Gordon Southern and Spontaneous Broadway will be playing the Melbourne Comedy Festival from April 12 to 24.

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