LOVE FACTUALLY. Directed by Chris Weare, with Alan Committie. At the Baxter Flipside Theatre until 16 June 2018.
MEGAN FURNISS reviews
I adore Alan Committie. Every time I see him on stage I think about why I don’t see him more, because he is truly funny.
He makes me, and an enormous group of people laugh, a lot. Which is exactly what we did at the opening of this run of Love Factually at the Flipside at The Baxter.
Alan is pretty much the only kind of stand-up comedy I can manage. It is a genre I don’t love. I don’t enjoy audience members getting picked on and made fun of, I hate jokes that generalise, are sexist, racist or bigoted, and I hate the pressure that stand-up exudes, especially the notion of ‘bombing’ which has its own stinky desperation. Alan is not like that. He has a divine rapport with the audience, his picking on people is controlled and inoffensive, and his comic timing is a thing to behold.
More theatrical than straight stand-up
Love Factually has a structure for Alan to wriggle around in, making it a more theatrical journey than a straight stand-up set. I imagine trying to keep Alan inside the structure must be a lot like herding cats. But, there is a set, a framework of narrative, lights and slides that need cues (although, Alan does control the slides himself). Love Factually is about relationships and romantic love.
The story, if it is actually a story, is that Alan is having a fight with his girlfriend Melissa, and he is at the movies to think this through. Through this the device he explores the ins and outs of relationships, the differences between men and women, and a whole lot of other funny stuff.
His delivery is remarkable
Here’s the thing with Alan’s material. The content is neither original or terribly clever, but it is his delivery that is special and remarkable and what makes him such a success.
Factually, I find the material a little trite. The differences between men and women, especially in today’s pretty fraught #metoo environment are a complex and toxic (and mostly not very funny) thing, but Alan plays it very safe with the CIS identified, middle class men are from Mars women from Venus tropes and stereotypes that are the same as Defending the Caveman (the show he performed a million times) only with Tinder at their disposal.
These are middle class problems, and this is ironically what makes the show so accessible and universal – it is tightly held in observational domesticity. Dating, marriage, and the trials and tribulations of men and women struggling to understand each other, resulting in the destruction of a washing machine as the only viable answer to, “Do I look fat in this dress.”
The thing is, I don’t care. I don’t care whether Alan gets his jokes from a car maintenance manual or the back of a cigarette pack. Here it is definitely a case of how rather than what. And I was amazed, surprised and delighted that he kept us in stitches for an hour and a half.
What: Love Factually
Where: Baxter Flipside, Rosebank, Cape Town
When: 29 May to 16 June 2018
Book tickets: Webtickets
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