Comedy Festival Review: VOTE BATTRobert Kelly
26 – 30 APRIL, 7 PM
The Fringe Bar, Allen St
The political campaigning in the US over the last eight months or so has provided a stark insight into how far political candidates are willing to go. This background came into focus as “former comedian” – now politician – Tim Batt ushered people up into the front seats, passing out badges and taking photographs with his not entirely adoring public.
This “pre-show” pressing of the flesh set the tone well for the evening: once on stage Batt told us that he had found comedy a very difficult game to crack and had decided to instead become a politician. This show, in the back end of the Fringe Bar, was in fact a rally and he was there to convince us to VOTE BATT.
The strength of Batt’s delivery is you are never quite sure what speed he is going at. At different points Batt was a comic, storyteller, spoof artist, actual political candidate and often a combination of several of these. The shifts from stories of drug soaked debauchery to ideas for policy platforms made a kind of warped sense. The show's acts are fairly well signposted and it gets progressively less personal and more political as it unfolds.
Aside from the strength of the premise and his commitment to it, the aspect of Batt’s performance that stuck with me was his speed. Batt is extremely quick and approaches things both laterally and literally. The combination of quite high concept material with crude cutaways and a general disregard for structure make for an enjoyable and surprising show.
The beauty of the show's conceit is the audience is welcomed into the collective joke. They are aware of the farce nature of it but, with that awareness, they can buy in. Batt mocked and manipulated audience members but, because it was mainly the character of the scumbag politician, it didn’t feel like the audience was being harassed. In one excellent moment Batt ran through the full spectrum of a deceitful campaign in 30 seconds on one audience member.
The one problem with so many things going on in one hour is keeping it cohesive. While Batt’s show hangs together well now, last night it feltlike he was figuring out how to balance the different Batts involved in the one hour slot. With more time and more good policies from the audience I can only see this show getting better and better.
Vote Batt is a thoroughly enjoyable romp, made more so by the quickness of the material and the comic delivering it.